***************************************** You should have received Parts I through V earlier. *****************************************
NUMBER 6: Current mechanisms of academic quality control-at colleges and universities, in schools and school systems, and in state laws and regulations-are inadequate to ensure that only fully qualified teachers enter the profession.
Measures for assessing the quality and competence of graduates of teacher education programs and for assessing the quality of the programs themselves fall woefully short of accomplishing their objective. Variations in licensure standards among the states are as numerous as the variations in quality and minimum standards among the nation's 1,200 programs of teacher education.
A pervasive criticism of teacher licensure tests is that they require no more knowledge than would be expected of high school graduates (Mitchell & Barth, 1999). As states work to craft more relevant and demanding examinations for prospective teachers, a number of performance-based licensure requirements are emerging, such as examination of portfolios and videotaped teaching sessions; internships similar to those required for licensure in medicine; standardized observations of classroom practice; and assessment of student work samples (Sykes, 1999). But even where adopted, such requirements address only a part of the quality control issue.
Academic quality controls within teacher education programs themselves often are inadequate. Not only do many programs lack regular and reliable internal assessments, but too few submit themselves to rigorous, periodic third-party evaluations, through accreditation or comparable external review. ------------ Sidebar: The fact that the nation's schools will need to hire 2.5 million teachers over the next 10 years (Hussar, 1999) provides an unequaled opportunity to transform the quality of teachers serving the nation's schools. ------------
NUMBER 7: There is an opportunity to transform the quality of teachers in American schools with the hiring of at least 2.5 million teachers in the next decade.
The teaching force will change dramatically over the next 10 years. The fact that the nation's schools will need to hire 2.5 million teachers over the next 10 years (Hussar, 1999) provides an unequaled opportunity to transform the quality of teachers serving the nation's schools. The supply of teachers will vary considerably from region to region. A particular need for more teachers than are currently being prepared exists in specific subject fields, such as science, mathematics and special needs.
In the next decade, annual hiring is projected to grow by 20 percent, up from 218,000 positions filled in 1999-2000 to 261,000 positions filled in 2009-2010 (Fig. 1). The U.S. Department of Education's projection is based on three vari-ables: (1) the annual hiring needed to replace retirees and other departing teachers; (2) projected enrollment increases based on school-age population increases; and (3) teacher-pupil ratio declines similar to those of previous years.
Departing teachers account for most of the increased hiring needs. Nationwide, about 6 percent of public school teachers now leave teaching each year (NCES, 1997a). Beginning teachers and retirement-age teachers are much more likely to leave than are mid-career teachers. Over the past several years, the proportions of teachers occupying these two ends of the teacher experience profile have been increasing (Grissmer and Kirby, 1997). Therefore, the number of teachers on the brink of retirement will substantially exceed past levels. All told, about 700,000 retirements will occur over the next 10 years, accounting for 28 percent of hiring needs (Hussar, 1999).
Enrollment growth, on the other hand, will diminish as the decade progresses, having virtually no effect on hiring needs by 2009, although that growth-and the consequent demand-will vary considerably from state to state (Fig. 2). --------- [See report for figures: Fig. 1 - Projected Annual Teacher Hiring Needs Through 2009-10 and Fig. 2 - Projected Percent Change in Grades K-12 Enrollment in Public Schools, by State: Fall 1997 to Fall 2009] --------- Given new federal incentives and the trend in a handful of states toward aggressive reduction in class size, the Department of Education's projections of teacher-student ratios probably underestimate the demand for teachers. For example, California's first year of class size reduction in 1996 triggered the hiring of 19,000 elementary school teachers beyond the 16,000 already needed because of teacher attrition and student enrollment growth (Shields, et al., 1998). Underestimates also arise because analysts count many per-sons without qualifications as teachers. Too often, the remedy for securing additional teachers to meet classroom demand is to employ marginally qualified teachers. In 1991, the most recent year for which careful analysis is available, almost one-quarter of all new teachers hired lacked standard certification. Although many teaching under "emergency certification" are otherwise acceptable teachers who lack some specific requirements, at least 275,000 teachers are employed in the nation's classrooms without adequate preparation in course content, without having graduated from a teacher education program, or without a state license (Henke et al., 1997; NCES, 1999a). Some states already have adopted policies prohibiting or limiting employment of less than fully qualified teachers. If all states were to do so, the 2.5 million figure in the Department of Education's projection would rise to at least 2.75 million.
Currently, only about two-thirds of newly prepared teachers enter the profession immediately after graduation (Henke, et al, 1996). For that reason, returning teachers and delayed entrants together fill more openings than newly prepared teachers (Figure 3). If all graduates of teacher education programs entered the field, these new entrants alone would meet most of the demand for teachers. It is clear, therefore, that if colleges and universities encouraged more teacher education students to work in the field for which they were educated, the unmet demand could be substantially reduced. As public policy makers work simultaneously to increase the numbers of schoolteachers and to strengthen their quality, the highest priority should be accorded to creating incentives that will retain well-qualified, high-performing teachers and to replacing teachers who do not have the preparation or qualifications essential to meet minimum standards. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Information about the report is available on the American Council of Education's website: http://www.acenet.edu/
Title: To Touch the Future - Transforming the Way Teachers Are Taught Year: 1999 Published by: American Council on Education One Dupont Circle NW Washington, D.C. 20036-1193 Ordering: $15.00 [10 or more copies are $10 each, 100 or more copies are $5 each.] Orders must be prepaid by money order or check (made out to the ACE) and sent to:
ACE Fulfillment Service Department 191 Washington, D.C. 20055-0191
or call (301) 604-9073 The whole report can be downloaded from the website at http://www.acenet.edu/ . If you go to the website, you can see how to do this. **************************************************
Jerry P. Becker Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction Southern Illinois University Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA Fax: (618) 453-4244 Phone: (618) 453-4241 (office) (618) 457-8903 (home) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org