In 2015, the U.S. Department of Education required every state to submit an equity plan to ensure that “poor and minority children are not taught at higher rates than other children by inexperienced, unqualified, or out-of-field teachers.” Research consistently shows that teacher quality is the most powerful school-based factor in student learning. Yet students of color and those from low-income families often have less access to effective teaching and experienced educators, even though expectations for student learning and performance have increased.
To ensure that all students have access to effective teaching, the underlying systems for preparing and supporting teachers and school leaders must change. The Alliance for Excellent Education envisions a transformed secondary education system that is personalized, deeply engaging, focused on learning high-level content and complex skills, and enabled by new tools—technology and performance measures aligned with new state learning standards. Schools need a similarly new paradigm to construct a consistent vision of quality teaching—one anchored in a system of performance assessments and leveraged through the design of clinically-based preservice programs, comprehensive induction, teacher evaluation to improve practice, and collaborative professional learning.
Roughly half a million U.S. teachers either move or leave the profession each year—attrition that costs the United States up to $2.2 billion annually. This high turnover rate disproportionately affects high-poverty schools and seriously compromises the nation’s capacity to ensure that all students have access to skilled teaching.