It’s easier to identify good teachers than to train them, writes Paul Peterson on Education Next.
A just-released paper prepared by Matthew M. Chingos and myself for a Harvard Program on Education Policy and Governance conference on merit pay (which will take place on June 3-4) shows that Florida teachers who majored in education in college are no better at teaching math and reading to elementary- and middle-school students than those who did not. Even those teachers who attended the most selective universities in Florida, such as the state’s flagship university, the University of Florida, are no better at lifting student performance in reading and math than those who attended Florida’s less prestigious institutions. Nor can we identify any benefit from earning a master’s degree, despite the fact that school districts tend to pay 8 percent to 10 percent more to teachers who hold such a degree.
Over their first 10 years in the classroom, teachers become more effective, Peterson writes. But, except for elementary reading, teachers “show no further gains — and some declines – in effectiveness as teachers enter their second decade of teaching.” Yet salaries climb steeply for teachers with more than 10 years of experience.
The one bright spot in our data set is the finding that teachers who are certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards are, in fact, better teachers. The board asks teachers to submit evidence of quality teaching. After a careful review of their work, they certify about half the applicants.
It’s possible to identify and reward effective teachers, rather than paying more simply for paper credentials or years in the classroom, Peterson writes.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan wants ineffective teacher education programs to shape up or shut down, reports AP. But teacher ed is notoriously resistant to change.
Via Inside School Research, a new study of teachers who switch schools finds New York City principals hired higher-quality teachers, as measured by pre-service qualifications and value-added scores, even though principals didn’t know the applicants’ scores. Principals like to hire Teach for America teachers, the study found.