Turning Around Low-Performing Schools: District and State Strategies

Reading List: Ensuring Teacher Quality

Teacher Qualification Gap

Goldhaber, D. (2008). Addressing the teacher qualifications gap: Exploring the use and efficacy of incentives to reward teachers for tough assignments. Washington , DC:Center for American Progress. Available at http://americanprogress.org/issues/education/report/2008/11/20/5179/addressing-the-teacher-qualification-gap/

This paper explores policy options that address teacher distribution. The first section discusses findings on teacher preferences and the teacher labor market. The next section focuses on the magnitude of teacher inequity, and explores how these inequities develop and how various policy options address them. The final section makes policy recommendations for addressing the teacher qualification gap: a) creating and maintaining state data systems of the distribution of teachers and the efficacy of related policies, b) implementing evaluations to study the effects of a plan simultaneously with policy, c) requiring school districts to report spending at each school on real-dollar basis, and d) encouraging school districts to tap into highly quality sources of teachers specifically targeted towards schools serving disadvantaged students.

Teacher Turnover

Clotfelter, C., Glennie, E., Ladd, H., & Vigdor, J. (2008). Would higher salaries keep teachers in high poverty schools? Evidence from a policy intervention in North Carolina. Available at http://www.nber.org/papers/w12285.pdf?new_window=1

This article summarizes the results of a longitudinal study on the effect of differential salaries on teacher turnover. The study was conducted over a three-year period in North Carolina, and found that an annual bonus payment of $1800 to certified teachers significantly reduced the average turnover rates.

** Ingersoll, R. M. (2001) Teacher Turnover, Teacher Shortages, and the Organization of Schools. Available at http://depts.washington.edu/ctpmail/PDFs/Turnover-Ing-01-2001.pdf

This analysis investigates the factors that impact teacher turnover and, in turn, school staffing problems. The data show that low salaries, inadequate support from the school administration, and student discipline problems are the factors that most significantly contribute to teacher turnover rates.

Teacher Support Gap

Johnson, S. M. et al (2004). The support gap: New teacher’s early experiences in high-income and low-income schools. Available at http://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/article/viewFile/216/342

This article discusses three factors that have been found to increase the satisfaction and retention of new teachers: a) supportive hiring practices, including school-based information-rich interviews and observations which are scheduled to ensure that hired teachers have ample time to prepare for their new position; b) relationships with colleagues, and c) curriculum support, avoiding common problems of insufficient circular guidance, excessive curricular prescription, and pressure to teach to the test.

National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) in High Priority Schools

Democratic Leadership Council. (2008, June 30). Employing board certified teachers wisely. Model Initiatives. Not available online.

This article suggests policy changes to ensure that National Board Certified teachers (NBCTs) are more proportionately distributed and that NBCTs’ salaries are competitive with other high-skill fields. The policy changes suggested aim either to make the maximum differentials and bonuses for BCTs more substantial, or to target bonuses and differentials to NBCTs who work in high poverty or low-performing schools, or who serve in teacher mentoring or school improvement initiatives.

Koppich, J. E., et al (2006) Making use of What Teachers Know and Can Do: Policy, Practice, and National Board Certification. ducation Policy Analysis Archives, 15(7). Available at http://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/article/viewFile/55/181

This paper explores the results of a three-year study on the circumstances and conditions under which National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs )can have a positive impact on low performing schools. The study finds that in order to improve low performing schools, NBCTs needed to be given opportunities to make school improvement contributions beyond their own classrooms, principles and district officials needed to refocus on teaching and learning, and principals needed to be trained in how to infuse national board processes and standards into the daily routine of their school. Additionally, the culture of the school had to be fundamentally changed, the school schedule had to be altered, and many teaching norms had to be modified.

**Humphrey, D.C., Koppich, J. E., & Hough, H. J. (2005, March 3). Sharing the Wealth: National Board of Certified Teachers and the Students Who Need Them Most. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 13(18). Available at http://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/article/view/123/249

This article examines why California—out of the six states with the largest number of NBCTs—is the only state in which NBCTs are equally distributed across different socioeconomic populations of students. The authors suggest policy on how to realign the distribution of NBCTs, including targed candidate support, monetary incentives for teachers to become National Board certified, and financial incentives for NBCTs to teach at low-performing schools.

Performance-Based Incentives & Evaluation

Gordon, R., Kane, T. J., & Staiger, D. O. (2006). Identifying effective teachers using performance on the job. The Hamilton Project. Available at http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/papers/2006/04education_gordon/200604hamilton_1.pdf

This discussion paper proposes that rather than raise minimum credentials for entering teachers, schools, states, and the federal government should work together to a) measure individual teacher effectiveness, b) reward highly rated teachers teaching in high-poverty schools, c) ensure that new teachers with poor evaluations are not tenured, d) facilitate entry into teaching by those pursuing other careers who lack traditional certification but can demonstrate success on the job, and e) provide key data for teachers and schools to use to improve their performance.

**Clotfelter, C. T., Ladd, H. F., & Vigdor, J. L. (2007). Teacher credentials and student achievement in high school: A cross-subject analysis with student fixed effects. (Working Paper 13617). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Available at http://www.nber.org/papers/w13617.pdf

This article discusses the systematic ways in which teacher credentials significantly affect student achievement, and how the uneven distribution of teacher credentials across the race and socioeconomic status of high school students contributes to high school achievement gaps.

**Chait, R., & Miller, R. (2009). Paying teachers for results: A summary of research to inform the design of pay for performance programs for high poverty schools. Washington, DC: Center for American Progress. Available at http://americanprogress.org/issues/education/report/2009/05/18/6127/paying-teachers-for-results/

This article presents evidence on the effectiveness of pay-for-performance programs for teachers and school staff. The authors discuss the efficacy of awarding teachers and school staff incentives based on a variety of measures of teacher performance, and highlight the potential of school-level measures of student achievement as one factor in determining teacher performance.

**Article is only available via electronic copy.