Toward a Fair Distribution of Teacher Talent
Author: Haycock, K.
Publisher: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)
Publication Date: 2002, December/2003, January
Journal: Educational Leadership
Journal Volume: 60(4)
Available for purchase online at: http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership/dec02/vol60/num04/abstract.aspx#Toward_a_Fair_Distribution_of_Teacher_Talent
Abstract (written by WestEd)
The author discusses the connection between the achievement gap and widespread inequities in teacher quality, along with concrete suggestions for getting more highly qualified teachers into the schools and classrooms that need them most.
National data support the claim that poor and minority students are more likely to have unequal educational opportunities:
- Certification - 30 percent of core academic courses are taught by uncertified teachers in high-poverty secondary schools compared to 17 percent in low-poverty schools.
- Experience - 20 percent of inexperienced teachers learn to teach in high-poverty schools versus 11 percent in low-poverty schools.
- Subject-matter expertise - 33 percent of courses in high-poverty high schools are taught by teachers without a degree in that subject versus 20 percent in low-poverty high schools.
- Exam performance - Teachers who performed poorly on exams (e.g., college admissions tests, teacher licensure tests) are more likely to teach in high-poverty schools.
- Classroom effectiveness - A Tennessee study indicated that African American students were twice as likely as Caucasian students to be assigned to the least effective teachers.
Reasons for the disparity include: resources that high-poverty school districts have to attract good teachers; seniority-related transfer policies and practices within school districts; rewarding more experienced teachers with students who least need help within schools; and a professional culture that touts statistics (e.g., standardized test scores) that reflect more about students' elite backgrounds than teachers' own effectiveness.
Recent research indicates that schools with talented, dedicated teachers can dramatically impact student achievement in terms of learning gains and can close gaps for poor and minority students. No Child Left Behind requires all teachers to be "highly qualified" by 2005-2006.
The American Association of School Administrators has offered some ways to bring about equity (Prince, 2002a, 2002b). Suggestions include: bonuses and salary increases for teachers in hard-to-staff schools; special financial awards for teachers with board certification or other advanced certificates; rich and intensive professional development in high-poverty schools; subsidized master's degree programs and housing assistance for these teachers; and increased support services for students and reduced student loads for teachers in high-poverty schools.
Prince, C. (2002a). The challenge of attracting good teachers and principals to struggling schools. Arlington, VA: American Association of School Administrators.
Prince, C. (2002b). Higher pay in hard-to-staff schools: The case for financial incentives. Arlington, VA: American Association of School Administrators.
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