NEPC Resources on Teacher Education, Quality, and Professional Development
Reviews Worth Sharing: The Effectiveness of Secondary Math Teachers from Teach for America and the Teaching Fellows Programs (Institute of Education Sciences, September 2013)
NEPC Review: 2018 State Teacher Policy Best Practices Guide (National Council on Teacher Quality, March 2018)
Education Interview of the Month: Greg Smith Interviews Michael Barbour and Bryan Mann on Virtual Schools
NEPC Review: It Takes a Community (Bellwether Education Partners, February 2018) and Pre-K Teachers and Bachelor's Degrees (New America and Bellwether Education Partners, February 2018)
NEPC Review: When Degree Programs for Pre-K Teachers Go Online: Challenges and Opportunities (New America Foundation, November 2017)
NEPC Review: Tackling Gaps in Access to Strong Teachers: What State Leaders Can Do (The Education Trust, October 2017)
Education Interview of the Month: Greg Smith Interviews Ken Zeichner on Independent Teacher Prep Programs
Teacher preparation has emerged as an acutely politicized and publicized issue in U.S. education policy and practice, and there have been fierce debates about the methods and reasoning behind it. Because of the importance of teachers and teacher education, policy should be driven by the best evidence based on high-quality research.
This report from the Center for American Progress offers 10 recommendations for improving the public perceptions of and experiences of classroom teachers. While elements of these recommendations would likely be beneficial, they also include policy changes that would increase surveillance of teachers, reduce teachers’ job security, evaluate teachers by students’ test scores, and create merit pay systems that would likely have the opposite effect.
The Mirage: Confronting the Hard Truth About Our Quest for Teacher Development argues for fundamental changes in the way public school districts think about teacher growth. Using original data collected from teachers and administrators in three public districts and one charter network, the authors contend that although the public districts invest heavily in teacher professional development, what is offered is often a poor fit to teacher needs and ultimately ineffective as a means to improving teacher evaluation scores.
Promoting a legal strategy to achieve one set of ends can open the door for very different uses; in this case, that of teacher job protections and education rights litigation. In their eagerness to take on teacher job protections, the plaintiffs in Vergara v. State of California and follow-up litigation in New York may be inviting litigation with very different goals for school policy and reform.
On December 3, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education released a draft of proposed new Teacher Preparation Regulations under Title II of the Higher Education Act with a call for public comments within 60 days. The proposal enumerates federally mandated but state-enforced regulations of all teacher preparation programs.
NEPC Review: Fast Start: Training Better Teachers Faster, with Focus, Practice and Feedback and Time to Improve: How Federal Policy Can Promote Better Prepared Teachers and School Leaders
This review addresses two different proposals for reforming teacher training, neither of which is grounded in research. Further, neither provides useful evidence that the proposed programs have been, or promise to be, effective. TNTP’s Fast Start initiative essentially replaces teacher preparation with a five-week pre-service program followed by a closely monitored internship.
This report examines the extent to which the Texas education system is efficient. It emphasizes x-efficiency, a more extensive concept than productive efficiency that includes incentives, information, and adaptability. Applying the concept of x-efficiency, the authors argue that in key areas—teacher training, teacher evaluation, teacher pay-setting, and use of instructional materials—the Texas education system is unlikely to be efficient or cannot demonstrate efficiency.
Teach For America (TFA) receives hundreds of millions of public and private dollars and has garnered acclaim for sending college graduates, who do not typically have an education background, to teach in low-income rural and urban schools for a two-year commitment. The number of TFA corps members has grown by about 2,000% since its inception in 1990. The impact of these transitory teachers is hotly debated. Admirers see the program as a way to grow the supply of “outstanding” graduates, albeit temporarily, as teachers.
This report from a think tank called Public Impact begins with two unsupported premises: that only one in four teachers is good enough to help close achievement gaps, and that current efforts to recruit and retain excellent teachers are inadequate. To allow existing excellent teachers to reach more students and to develop excellence in their colleagues, it proposes a model for restructuring teaching.
NEPC Review: Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress, and Reform
The 18th edition of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress, and Reform draws on ratings from market-oriented advocacy groups to grade states in areas such as support for charter schools, availability of vouchers, and permissiveness for homeschooling. The authors contend that these grades are based on “high quality” research demonstrating that the policies for which they award high grades will improve education for all students.
A new study funded by Teach for America (TFA) attempts to identify the effect of TFA teachers and alumni on student test scores. The report, by Edvance Research, matched schools and students within those schools on both demographic and achievement characteristics. It then used the matched student data in a multi-level regression analysis to estimate the effect of being taught by a TFA teacher on mathematics and reading test scores for two groups of students: those in grades 4 and 5 and those in grades 6 through 8.
Various education innovations are often proposed as solutions to the problems of education in the United States. Moving an innovation from a few schools to a great many, so it can have a regional or national impact, is very challenging, however.
This brief discusses how three recent popular educational reform policies move teaching towards or away from professionalization. These reforms are (1) policies that evaluate teachers based on students’ annual standardized test score gains, and specifically, those based on value-added assessment; (2) fast-track teacher preparation and licensure; and (3) scripted, narrowed curricula. These particular policy reforms are considered because of their contemporary prominence and the fact that they directly influence the way teaching is perceived.
The Gates Foundation’s Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project was a multi-year study of thousands of teachers in six school districts that concluded in January 2013. This review addresses two of the final MET research papers. One paper uses random assignment to test for bias in teachers’ value-added scores. The experimental protocol was compromised, however, when many students did not remain with the teachers to whom researchers had assigned them; other students and teachers did not participate at all. This prevents conclusive answers to the questions of interest.
The annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher finds teachers' job satisfaction plummeting from 59% to 44%. Perhaps this is a result of repeated attacks on themselves and their profession?
NEPC Review: The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood
This NBER report concludes that teachers whose students tend to show high gains on their test scores (called “high value-added teachers”) also contribute to later student success in young adulthood, as indicated by outcomes such as college attendance and future earnings. To support this claim, it is not sufficient for researchers to show an observed association between teacher value-added and later outcomes in young adulthood.
Ensuring that all students in America’s public schools are taught by good teachers is an educational and moral imperative. The teacher is the most important school-based influence on student achievement, and poor children and those of color are less likely to be taught by well-qualified, experienced, and effective teachers than other students.
Garantizar que a todos los estudiantes en las escuelas públicas de los Estados Unidos de Norte América les enseñen buenos docentes es un imperativo educativo y moral. El docente es la influencia escolar más importante en el logro de los estudiantes, y los niños en situación de pobreza y los de color cuentan con menos posibilidades de aprender con docentes bien calificados, con experiencia y efectivos que otros estudiantes.