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


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.
Teaching Profession Webinar
How Does Educator Well-Being Impact Social-Emotional Awareness in Schools?
Explore how adult well-being is key to promoting healthy social-emotional behaviors for students. Get strategies to reduce teacher stress.
Content provided by International Baccalaureate
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.
IT Infrastructure Webinar
A New Era In Connected Learning: Security, Accessibility and Affordability for a Future-Ready Classroom
Learn about Windows 11 SE and Surface Laptop SE. Enable students to unlock learning and develop new skills.
Content provided by Microsoft Surface
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum Making Technology Work Better in Schools
Join experts for a look at the steps schools are taking (or should take) to improve the use of technology in schools.

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 Lawmakers, Education Secretary Clash Over Charter School Rules
Miguel Cardona says the administration wants to ensure charters show wide community interest before securing federal funding.
5 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during the 2022 National and State Teachers of the Year event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, April 27, 2022.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, is seen during a White House event on April 27. The following day, he defended the Biden administration's budget proposal on Capitol Hill.
Susan Walsh/AP
Federal Opinion What If We Treated Public Education Like the Crisis It Is?
A former governor warns that without an overhaul, education's failures will cost the nation dearly.
Bev Perdue
5 min read
Conceptual Illustration of the sun rising behind a broken down school building
Federal What the Research Says Education Research Has Changed Under COVID. Here's How the Feds Can Catch Up
Adam Gamoran, chairman of a National Academies panel on the future of education research, talks about the shift that's needed.
5 min read
Graphic shows iconic data images all connected.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Federal 7 Takeaways for Educators From Biden's State of the Union
What did President Joe Biden say about education in his first State of the Union address to Congress? Here's a point-by-point summary.
3 min read
President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Washington as Vice President Kamala Harris applauds and House speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., looks on.
President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, with Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in attendance.
Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times via AP