Creating a New Teaching Profession

Schools can’t control everything that affects a child’s education, we’re often told. Family poverty and disdain for education, for example, can play a significant role.

But what about the things that a school can directly control? How about, say, the quality of the teacher in the classroom?

The Urban Institute has a new book offering some ideas for making sure that the best teachers are in school classrooms. Dan Goldhaber and Jane Hannaway’s book is called Creating a New Teaching Profession.

Part one of the book explains why we need reform. Part two offers ideas for reform, in areas such as professional development and “teacher deselection.” Part three poses and asks the question, “Yes, fine, but what will the world think about it?”

According a the press release for the book, “current systems for training, hiring, retaining, and rewarding teachers not only are imperfect, but are detrimental to building the best teacher workforce possible.”

You can read the first chapter of the book online (no PDF reader required!). It reminds us that “having multiple effective teachers versus multiple ineffective teachers can make or break a student’s entire schooling experience.”

Education Week, meanwhile, has a write-up of the book, which will give you an idea of its themes. What I find most interesting, though, are the public comments on the story. They can be summed up this way: “Don’t blame teachers! And don’t think you can evaluate us, either!”

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