Most analysts in the education policy conversation agree that teacher quality is the most important in-school variable shaping students’ educational outcomes. It’s a huge lever—new technology, fancy curricula, and better content standards are almost meaningless without a great teacher to make them work.
A new report from Third Way offers some insight into the challenges of remaking America’s teaching force. Authors Tamara Hiler and Lanae Erickson Hatalsky polled 400 high-performing (with GPAs of B+ or higher) college students to get their views on the teaching profession—and what it might take to entice them into becoming teachers themselves.
The results are challenging.
Only 17 percent of students reported that they were “very interested” in teaching, while fully 40 percent weren’t interested at all. They also ranked Education as one of the easiest majors to pursue in college, which perhaps feeds their dim view of the profession: 50% believe that teaching has gotten less prestigious over the last decade. The respondents ranked education the top profession for “average” people.
So Hiler and Hatalsky asked the polled students what would make them more likely to pursue teaching. How, in other words, could policymakers break the cycle? The top three answers were as predictable as they were clear:
- Higher pay for all teachers
- Higher pay for highly-effective teachers
- Better student loan repayment for teachers
Hiler and Hatalsky make recommendations for revamping teacher career paths, retirement, training, and more.
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To read the report, see: http://www.thirdway.org/publications/811