National Board for Professional Teaching Standards -
Teacher Quality in Public Schools
What Makes a Teacher Great?
The importance they place on their students success...
In most of our memories there is that one teacher that stands out above the rest. The teacher that took an active interest in our academic success, the one that made learning fun and exciting, the teacher's class that you actually looked forward to and almost without effort you found yourself trying your best to live up to his or her expectations. The teachers that stayed after school with us, often for hours, to make sure we understood the material we were expected to master. We remember those teachers fondly with great thanks and appreciation for the interest they showed in our education.
The characteristics of exceptional teaching skills haven't changed and those calibers of excellence in exceptional teachers still exist. If your child is lucky enough to have a great teacher consider showing your appreciation through nominations for the many grants and award programs that exist on both local and national levels. In addition to the awards listed in the links on this page, check with your state Department of Education for local awards programs that may exist in your area. If we want to encourage excellence in the educators that teach our children we need to be willing to go the extra mile to let our communities know that there are teachers exhibiting phenomenal levels of professionalism, personal sacrifice, and dedication. We must begin to publicly acknowledge those educators that strive to achieve higher levels of excellence and by doing so; we will help create an educational community where excellence becomes the norm rather than the exception to the rule.
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory:Are Our Teachers Good Enough?
(excerpt) After three years with very effective teachers, students were able to raise their test scores by 16 percentile points in both reading and math. By contrast, classmates who started out performing at the same level but had been assigned to very ineffective teachers for three years in a row saw their scores drop dramatically - by 18 percentile points in reading and 33 percentile points in math (see chart).
Education Week on the Web: Teacher Quality (excerpt) A substantial body of research suggests that a school’s quality can be directly linked to the quality of its teachers. But states and school districts face significant challenges in maintaining and measuring consistent levels of teacher quality.
National Council on Teacher Quality Holding Teachers Accountable (excerpt) Teachers, as well as schools, should be held accountable for producing results. They should be evaluated based on whether their pupils are learning, and teachers who are ineffective should be dismissed. The best way to measure a teacher's contribution to student learning is value-added analysis. (More)
Education Week on the Web Accelerated Schools Project
A comprehensive approach to improve learning for children in at-risk situations. Accelerated schools are designed to bring all students into the educational mainstream of elementary school by providing the kinds of rich, challenging learning activities that usually have been reserved for gifted-and-talented students and to build on these gains at subsequent levels of schooling.
NEAG School of Education - University of Connecticut Accelerated SchoolsProject
Imagine a school... in which all children excel to high levels, regardless of their background. Imagine a school that treats all children as gifted and builds on their strengths through enrichment strategies, independent research, problem solving, science, writing, music, and art. Imagine a school in which all members of the school community develop a vision of their ideal school; and in which they collaborate to achieve that dream by making major decisions about curriculum, instructional strategies, and school organization. Imagine a school where ideas count. Let your imagination go as far as it can, and you have discovered the accelerated school. See: Transforming Teaching
US Dept of Education: Teacher Quality
Current national data suggest that teacher quality will be of growing concern in the coming years (from Eliminating Barriers to Improving Teaching ):
30 percent of new public school teachers are hired without full certification, and at least 43 states report that they grant waivers to hire teachers who are not fully certified.
Minority teachers comprise only 13 percent of the teaching force, although minority students comprise 36 percent of the student population.
85 percent of teachers report receiving less than eight hours a year of professional development, and, of the newest teachers, only 44 percent report participating in formal first-year mentoring programs.
Less than half (42%) of college graduates who prepared for teaching apply for a teaching job within four years, and 22 percent of new public teachers leave the profession in the first three years.