Why make educator effectiveness the cornerstone of every school's strategy for improvement?
The truth of the matter is that there are simply not enough talented educators to ensure the high-quality education that every child in America needs and deserves. Without a substantial focus on instructional improvement—and the support for educators to do the most important job in the country—our nation will not be able to achieve sustained and meaningful growth in student performance.
Research conducted by us and other leading institutions over the past two decades about America's teaching profession confirms:
- Teacher quality is THE most important school-related factor affecting student achievement. Forty-three percent of the variance in student achievement is based on teacher qualifications, 49 percent on home and family, and eight percent on class size. (Ingersoll & Merrill, 2010; Stronge & Grant, 2011)
- But teacher attrition levels are high. Fifty percent of new teachers are not expected to remain in teaching more than five years. In high-need schools and subjects, the turnover rate is even higher. More teachers nearing retirement age, with fewer young new teachers to replace them. (Clandinin et al., 2015; Goldring, Taie, & Riddles, 2014)
- And the supply of high-quality teachers entering the profession is low compared to those in other fields. Nearly 60 percent of chemistry, physics, earth and space science instructors do not have certification or a major in their subjects. (Hanushek & Rivkin, 2010; Henry, Bastian, & Smith, 2012)
- Further, the quality of educators currently teaching and the incentives for effective performance vary tremendously. The most effective teachers produce as much as five times the learning gains of the least effective teachers. Many of the lowest-paid school administrators earn more than many of the highest-paid teachers. Teachers must often leave the profession to earn top salaries. (Fryer, 2013; Goodman & Turner, 2011)
- Retaining high-quality teachers must be a central focus of reform. Secondary and elementary schools will need to hire over two million new teachers in the coming years. (Almy & Tooley, 2012; Simon & Moore, 2013)
Our initiatives are designed to reverse these trends and ensure a highly skilled, strongly motivated and competitively compensated educator for every American classroom.