Every year, local and state governments spend billions of dollars on economic development incentives, but even though corporations regularly say that a skilled or educated workforce is more important to them than almost any other factor — including tax incentives — few state legislatures focus on the training of those who develop that workforce: teachers.
Good teachers help create the educated workforce that is essential to attracting businesses to an area. They also stay at their jobs longer than poorly trained teachers, saving states and school districts money. And something that too often is not acknowledged is that teachers alone make up a large percentage of any city or county’s workforce. But without high-quality preparation, many teachers will be poorly equipped to shape the citizens of tomorrow.
Written by former West Virginia governor Bob Wise, the report How Do Teacher Preparation Programs Affect a State’s Economy? implores state policymakers — including governors, legislators, and other key officials — to focus attention on the quality of their state’s teacher preparation programs. It provides guidance to help state policymakers effectively partner with schools of education, including questions they can ask to effectively evaluate programs and identify opportunities to strengthen them.