Federal

Groups Tackle Teacher Quality in Needy Schools

February 15, 2005 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Representatives of three education organizations announced last week they will work together to focus more national attention, research, and resources on the problem of hiring and keeping good teachers in traditionally low-performing schools.

The National Partnership for Teaching in At-Risk Schools was officially launched here on Feb. 9. Leading the initiative are the Denver-based Education Commission of the States, the Educational Testing Service, of Princeton, N.J., and Learning Point Associates, a nonprofit education consulting group in Naperville, Ill.

The partnership will develop a Web site and a home for data-gathering, research, and public-policy work with the goal of providing better-trained teachers for students who often need the most help. Staff members from each partnering organization will contribute time to the new project.

American education provides “a perverse, reverse-incentive system” that pays teachers more and provides better work environments in more affluent neighborhoods, when children in poor communities often need great teachers the most, said Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia, a former ECS chairman who also is chairing the new partnership.

Gov. Warner said the partnership, which he helped unveil, would seek additional partners in focusing attention on the problem of hard-to-staff schools.

The Democrat added he wants to draw the interest of the public, policymakers, and private foundations. “If we’re going to elevate the discussion on hard-to-staff schools to a national level, no organization can do it alone,” he said.

Michael Nettles, the ETS vice president who oversees the testing organization’s Policy Evaluation and Research Center, said providing an excellent teacher for every student in the nation is an achievable as well as important goal. If it’s reached, he said, “we could truly change the world, couldn’t we?”

The partnership released its inaugural report last week: “Qualified Teachers for At-Risk Schools: A National Imperative.” It cites studies showing that inexperienced teachers are more likely to teach in high-poverty schools, and that high-poverty schools traditionally have had far fewer teachers with subject-area expertise than low-poverty schools.

Trickling Down

Panelists at last week’s announcement held up Virginia as an example of a state that hopes to curb staffing problems in traditionally struggling schools.

Coalition Goals

The National Partnership for Teaching in At-Risk Schools unveiled a sweeping agenda last week.

Information: A national information clearinghouse, a Web site, an annual national conference, and regular progress reports are planned.

Research: The group plans to synthesize existing research on teacher quality, conduct new studies, and review new research on related topics.

Policy: The partnership will work with states and school districts on policy development, and collaborate with national organizations and teachers’ colleges to help improve training for college graduates who will work with academically at-risk students.

Resources: The group aims to provide information that will increase the effectiveness of state and local spending on teaching in at-risk schools, and to build the national capacity to improve teaching in those schools.

SOURCE: National Partnership for Teaching in At-Risk Schools

Jo Lynne DeMary, the state’s education superintendent, spoke of Gov. Warner’s pilot program that pays bonuses for teachers who accept jobs or agree to stay in two participating school systems that have struggled to find and hire qualified teachers.

Ms. DeMary said that the districts often have had dozens of teacher openings each year, but that this year’s incentives have cut the turnover rate dramatically.

“So, it’s working,” said Stanley Jones, the superintendent of the 3,800-student Caroline County, Va., school district, about 75 miles south of Washington. It is one of the pilot districts.

Virginia’s program, which Mr. Warner acknowledged is in its “infancy,” offers teachers with at least five years’ experience and a record of improving student achievement hiring bonuses of $15,000. The teachers must stay in the hard-to-staff schools for three years.

Also, teachers in the pilot districts who have five years’ experience and academic degrees in the subjects they teach receive annual $3,000 bonuses just for staying. The schools themselves can earn extra state money if they reach test-score goals.

The program is bolstering teachers’ morale, said Walter Clemmons, the assistant superintendent of the other pilot district, the 1,400-student Franklin, Va., schools, southwest of Norfolk.

A version of this article appeared in the February 16, 2005 edition of Education Week as Groups Tackle Teacher Quality in Needy Schools

Events

Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for
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
Student Well-Being Webinar
Trauma-Informed Practices & the Construction of the Deep Reading Brain
Join Ryan Lee-James, Ph.D. CCC-SLP, director of the Rollins Center for Language and Literacy, with Renée Boynton-Jarrett, MD, ScD., Vital Village Community Engagement Network; Neena McConnico, Ph.D, LMHC, Child Witness to Violence Project; and Sondra
Content provided by Rollins Center & Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
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
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Addressing Disparities of Black Students with Disabilities
Nearly two years of the pandemic have taken a toll on our nation’s students – especially those in the Black community and who are living with disabilities. But, as they say, in every crisis comes
Content provided by Easterseals

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal How a Big Federal Spending Package Could Affect School Meals and Student Poverty Counts
Legislation to expand access to free school meals highlights a persistent concern: how to improve the ways we identify students in poverty.
6 min read
Food service assistant Brenda Bartee, rear, gives students breakfast, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, during the first day of school at Washington Elementary School in Riviera Beach, Fla.
Food service assistant Brenda Bartee, rear, gives students breakfast, last month on the first day of school at Washington Elementary School in Riviera Beach, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal Feds to Probe Whether Texas Ban on School Mask Mandates Violates Disability Rights Laws
The Education Department has already opened investigations in six other states that ban universal school mask requirements.
2 min read
A staff member holds the door open for kids on the first day of school at Goodwin Frazier Elementary School in New Braunfels, Texas on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020.
A staff member holds the door open at Goodwin Frazier Elementary School in New Braunfels, Texas in 2020. This year, Texas has prohibited school districts from requiring all students to wear masks.
Mikala Compton/Herald-Zeitung via AP
Federal New Federal Team to Work on Puerto Rico School Improvement, Oversight
The Puerto Rico Education Sustainability Team will focus on creating better learning environments and improving financial management.
3 min read
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits the Emilio Delgado School in Corozal on June 30, 2021 during a visit to Puerto Rico.
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits the Emilio Delgado School in Corozal on June 30, 2021 during a visit to Puerto Rico.
Teresa Canino Rivera/GDA via AP
Federal Pandemic Tests Limits of Cardona's Collaborative Approach as Education Secretary
He's sought the image of a veteran educator among former peers, but COVID has forced him to take a tough stance toward some state leaders.
10 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter speak to Mia Arias, 10, during their visit to P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021 in New York.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter speak to Mia Arias, 10, during a visit to P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school, last month.
Brittainy Newman/AP