Arlington, VA — Teachers have lately fallen under the national microscope far more than any other aspect of public schooling. The convergence of sluggish growth in student achievement, high turnover in the ranks of teachers, continuing achievement gaps, and state and federal actions that have zeroed in on the capacity of the current education system have set the stage for changes that are unparalleled in recent education history.
The public and political drumbeat over these issues led the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) to create a study group charged with developing policy recommendations for a strong teaching profession. The panel’s findings are now being released in its report, Gearing Up: Creating a Systemic Approach to Teacher Effectiveness. Working from the belief that teachers are the most important in-school factor for student success, the study group held that state policies should ensure that all teachers meet high professional standards before receiving a license, participate in a high-quality induction program once on the job, and continue learning and growing throughout their careers.
“We know that teachers are the most important school factor in student learning, so now more than ever we need to develop effective policies that help our teachers to become world-class educators from the time they enroll in preparatory courses until the day they retire,” said NASBE Executive Director Brenda Welburn. “Our students and the teachers themselves deserve nothing less.”
In the report, the study group arrived at three separate series of recommendations that begin with teacher preparation at the college level, continue through teacher retention and induction, and finish with policy ideas for teacher evaluation. Each of these is a suggestion for state boards to consider as they adopt and implement new teacher-related policies. Included are recommendations that:
- Every teacher of record, no matter his or her pathway to the profession, must have significant exposure and clinical experience in the field teaching a diverse set of students.
- State and district education leaders should ensure that all teachers complete a multi-year induction program, which have been shown to increase new teacher effectiveness and decrease attrition rates.
- Evaluation systems should be designed and used for the purpose of improving instructional practice and student achievement.
The report was released to members Oct. 14 at NASBE’s annual conference in Atlanta.
For key findings from the study or to purchase a copy of the report, go to: Gearing Up Teacher Workforce Report.