School & District Management

NGA Report Urges Tougher Standards for Educators

By Stephen Sawchuk — May 12, 2009 3 min read

The nation’s governors should promote a higher-quality educator workforce by retooling key leverage points on state and local systems for recruiting, training, and retaining talent, a new report concludes.

Such changes should include setting or raising minimum-entry standards for teacher- and principal-training programs; strengthening such programs by improving their emphasis on student achievement; and designing performance-based pay and professional career ladders to keep effective educators in the field, says the report, which was released here last week by the Center for Best Practices, the consulting wing of the Washington-based National Governors Association.

The notion of improving systems for training, compensating, and developing teachers and principals has gained much attention recently through the Strategic Management of Human Capital task force. Organized last year, the smhc partnership has brought together superintendents, union leaders, and governors to identify and share best practices to foster those goals.

The NGA report further underscores that a focus on human capital requires the backing of states’ top decisionmakers.

“It is, to me, the number-one issue facing this country,” said Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, a Democrat, at a news conference held at the NGA’s headquarters. “For our economic competitiveness, it’s crucial we turn out the most skilled and educated workforce we can.”

Holistic Approach

The report’s key message is that such initiatives should be pushed as part of a holistic plan to change the composition of the educator workforce, rather than as a menu of discrete options. Its recommendations draw on a number of successful state and local practices.

Among those recommendations, the report says governors should spearhead efforts to:

• Adopt stronger teacher-preparation program admission standards for candidates, such as a higher minimum SAT score and GPA;

• Require principal-preparation programs to use a track record of improving student achievement as an entry criteria for prospective principals;

• Require teacher-preparation programs to feature content-specific coursework;

• Require teachers to pass licensure tests within one year of hire;

• Redesign compensation systems for teachers to include performance-based pay and higher pay for teachers in shortage fields and hard-to-staff schools;

• Compensate principals based on their ability to effectively manage human capital, including their ability to improve teachers’ working conditions and retention rates; and

• Require teachers and principals to be evaluated annually and throughout the school year.

Pushback Anticipated

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican who has championed that state’s Q-Comp differentiated-compensation system, said that such elements are not all-inclusive.

But, he added, the report “zooms in on key strategies states are deploying, but need to do so more rapidly.”

Referring to the national graduation rate of about 70 percent, Mr. Pawlenty said: “In a hypercompetitive global economy, we are not going to be able to compete if we have a third of our team on the bench.”

In the past, the governors have collectively agreed to work toward specific educational objectives, such as setting a standardized rate for measuring high school graduation. Although there is no formal structure for advancing these human-capital reforms, the two governors pointed to the $5 billion in discretionary stimulus funding, as a potential lever for galvanizing state action.

Mr. Pawlenty noted that several of the ideas in the report could generate pushback from other state groups, such as teachers’ unions, legislators, and higher education associations.

His own plans to advance such ideas in Minnesota by making the Q-Comp program mandatory, raising entry standards for teacher-preparation programs, creating pathways for recruiting midcareer professionals into teaching, and improving professional development, hasn’t yet gained traction, for instance. (“Minnesota Governor Targets Teacher Quality,” Oct. 8, 2008)

“The legislature hasn’t embraced them very enthusiastically,” he acknowledged. “But we’ll keep working on it.”

A version of this article appeared in the May 20, 2009 edition of Education Week as Governors’ Group Urges Higher Educator Standards

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Professional Development Webinar
Building Leadership Excellence Through Instructional Coaching
Join this webinar for a discussion on instructional coaching and ways you can link your implement or build on your program.
Content provided by Whetstone Education/SchoolMint
Teaching Webinar Tips for Better Hybrid Learning: Ask the Experts What Works
Register and ask your questions about hybrid learning to our expert panel.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Families & the Community Webinar
Family Engagement for Student Success With Dr. Karen Mapp
Register for this free webinar to learn how to empower and engage families for student success featuring Karen L. Mapp.
Content provided by Panorama Education & PowerMyLearning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Senior Business Analyst - 12 Month Contract
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
User Experience Analyst
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
Senior Director Marketing
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Camelot Education
Coordinator of Strategic Partnerships
Camden, New Jersey, United States
Camelot Education

Read Next

School & District Management Interactive A Year of COVID-19: What It Looked Like for Schools
This timeline offers a look at how a full year of living and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded.
13 min read
Elementary 1 teacher Melissa Vozar sits outside of Suder Elementary in Chicago to teach a virtual class on Jan. 11, 2021. The Chicago Teachers Union said that its members voted to defy an order to return to the classroom before they are vaccinated against the coronavirus, setting up a showdown with district officials who have said such a move would amount to an illegal strike.
Elementary 1 teacher Melissa Vozar sits outside of Suder Elementary in Chicago to teach a virtual class on Jan. 11, 2021. The Chicago Teachers Union said that its members voted to defy an order to return to the classroom before they are vaccinated against the coronavirus, setting up a showdown with district officials who have said such a move would amount to an illegal strike.
Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP
School & District Management Most Principals, District Leaders Predict Their Schools Will Be Fully In-Person This Fall
EdWeek Research Center surveys track the growing trend to get more students back in school buildings as soon as possible.
5 min read
Assistant Principal Janette Van Gelderen, left, welcomes students at Newhall Elementary in Santa Clarita, Calif on Feb. 25, 2021. California's public schools could get $6.6 billion from the state Legislature if they return to in-person instruction by the end of March, according to a new agreement announced Monday, March 1, 2021, between Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state's legislative leaders.
Assistant Principal Janette Van Gelderen, left, welcomes students at Newhall Elementary in Santa Clarita, Calif., last month. California's public schools could get $6.6 billion from the state if they return to in-person instruction by the end of March.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
School & District Management Opinion Will the Hybrid School Concept Continue After COVID-19?
In an effort to move from triage to transformation, schools should look at how they continue the hybrid model after the COVID-19 vaccine.
7 min read
Hybrid FCG
Shutterstock
School & District Management New York City's Equity-Minded Schools Chief Resigns
Richard A. Carranza, the chancellor of the New York City schools, announced Feb. 26 he will step down from the job next month.
4 min read
Richard Carranza, Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, arrives to Public School 188 The Island School as students arrive for in-person classes, on, Sept. 29, 2020, in the Manhattan borough of New York.
Richard A. Carranza announced he will depart the top New York City schools job in March.
John Minchillo/AP