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Teacher and School Leader Quality

By Elizabeth Cryan Photography with permission from Donnell-Kay Foundation at Rocky Mountain Prep school

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A growing body of evidence confirms that teacher and leader effectiveness are the two most important in-school factors in student achievement. Yet there is still considerable debate about how to promote high-quality teaching, especially in hard-to-staff schools and subjects, and about the characteristics that constitute an effective teacher or school leader.
Bellwether’s work addresses the full continuum of teacher and leader quality issues, including preparation, development, evaluation, and compensation. We use data to promote innovative yet feasible policy solutions to ensure that all students have access to effective instruction and all schools have high-performing leaders at the helm.

In addition to our philanthropically supported field-facing policy work, we have advised state education agencies, advocates, funders, and practitioners working to improve teacher and leader quality and preparation. We have worked directly with school operators and service providers to ensure their talent pipelines are robust and well equipped to attract, retain, and grow teachers and school leaders. Our deep experience working with a range of education organizations on teacher and leader quality issues informs our policy work in these areas.

The content below reflects our work on this issue:


December 5, 2016
Kaitlin Pennington, Sara Mead
In 2012, as states and districts were in the trenches changing teacher evaluation policy, Bellwether Education Partners released The Hangover, a...
October 19, 2016
U.S. News & World Report -- New federal guidelines aim to hold teacher prep programs accountable.
October 19, 2016
Ashley LiBetti Mitchel, Melissa Steel King
Every year, new teachers collectively spend about $4.8 billion on their training requirements, nearly all of which goes to teacher preparation...
September 22, 2016
Education Next -- Somewhere between 10 and 30 percent of all new teachers are hired after the school year begins. These late hires come in with...
August 19, 2016
TIME -- Donald Trump is a very human example of a statistical outlier.

Blog Posts

February 1, 2017
Kaitlin Pennington
Students are not learning, but teachers are told they’re doing their jobs effectively. This oxymoron is not new in American education, but...
June 2, 2016
Kaitlin Pennington
During the 2016 legislative session, several states’ bills attacked the use of student growth as part of teachers’ evaluations. While many...
February 24, 2016
Kaitlin Pennington
Did states and districts move on teacher evaluation policy because of readiness or was movement a response to federal pressure? What will...