In a report released today by the Washington DC-based Progressive Policy Institute, Sara Mead and I discuss the research showing that US teacher quality has fallen since the 1960s, and outline some strategies to tackle the problem. Top of our list are:
Design a smart performance-based pay system. Policymakers should work to make teacher-pay more competitive and performance based, creating opportunities for teachers to earn higher salaries while holding them accountable for outcomes. Performance-based pay should be based on student testing gains as well as other measures, such as classroom observation and interviews.
Reward teachers who work in the schools that need them most. Higher, more competitive pay is essential to attract high-quality teachers to schools and positions that need them most. Salary differentials should be substantial and locally determined.
Streamline and expedite teacher certification. Policymakers should encourage the expansion of alternative routes to teacher certification, particularly programs designed to attract high quality teachers to disadvantaged schools, as it is proving to be an effective way to encourage individuals with traits linked to teacher effectiveness to become teachers.
The full report is available here (PDF file).