A new paper from the National Academy of Education argues that, while weeding out ineffective teachers is important, improving the supply of skilled teachers is “critical.”
Based in Washington, the academy is an invitation-only group of the nation’s most distinguished scholars. Its new paper, released late last month, is the latest in a series of consensus reports offering research guidance on key education policy issues.
In the paper, academy researchers recommend that districts, states, and the federal government continue to experiment and study various approaches to teacher recruitment and retention. They also call for investing in research aimed at pinpointing the core practices and skills needed by early career teachers and then incorporating those skills into teacher-preparation programs. The report also makes a case for strengthening professional development efforts for teachers already in the classroom.
In the end, the paper concludes, if we want high-quality teachers, we will need to accord teaching with a higher status, create policies that attract and keep good teachers in the workforce, enhance school working conditions, and create policies that demand that those teachers continue to learn and teach their students well.
A version of this article appeared in the November 11, 2009 edition of Education Week as Teacher Quality