Yesterday, we were pointed to a great bit in Time on how to make great teachers from our friend Elizabeth. An introductory quote:
About 3.2 million people teach in U.S. public schools, but, according to projections by economist William Hussar at the National Center for Education Statistics, the nation will need to recruit an additional 2.8 million over the next eight years owing to baby-boomer retirement, growing student enrollment and staff turnover—which is especially rapid among new teachers. Finding and keeping high-quality teachers are key to America's competitiveness as a nation.
So we'll have a huge teacher shortage that will be another key factor in threatening the United States' long term competitive ability. Why not open it up to market forces? This is something we talked about yesterday and previously. But here's more from the article that is really encouraging:
There's little research on what makes for a successful merit-pay system, but several factors seem critical, says Matthew Springer, director of the National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University. Denver's program includes many of them: a careful effort to earn teacher buy-in to the plan, clarity about how it works, multiple ways of measuring merit, rewards for teamwork and schoolwide success, and reliable financing. In fact, Denver's voters agreed to pay an extra $25 million a year in taxes for nine years to support the program.
It's too soon to say if ProComp will raise achievement in Denver, but a pilot study found that students of teachers who enrolled on a trial basis performed better on standardized tests than other students. The program is already successful by another measure: raising the number of teachers applying to work in Denver's most troubled schools.
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