Schools increasingly rely on new teachers to staff their classrooms. A generation ago, the modal teacher had 15 years teaching experience, meaning that, if you asked teachers how many years they had taught the most likely answer would be 15. Today, the answer would be five years of experience. And the proportion of teachers who are new to the field will increase as the Baby Boom generation retires: Some estimates forecast half the nation’s teachers could retire in the next ten years.
This demand for new teachers creates some obvious challenges for the education field, but it also means that states have a unique opportunity to leverage their authority over teacher preparation and certification to raise the overall level of teacher quality and effectiveness.
To that end, Bellwether has produced two new reports:
* Peering Around the Corner, analyzes 11 states that have made substantial progress in linking teachers to the preparation programs that prepared them. For each state, we review the technical and practical decisions they made — like determining which outcomes to measure and how to define them, identifying the right sample size, and deciding if and how to use the data for accountability. We also take a more general look at the challenges states can expect to face, and the tradeoffs they’ll have to make, as they take on this work.
* Policymakers are still looking for the right way to identify effective teacher preparation and predict who will be an effective teacher. Nothing tried so far can guarantee effective teachers. In No Guarantees, we recommend an alternative approach that relies on the best available evidence to date: initial teaching effectiveness has promise for predicting future effectiveness.