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Topic: PART VI: To Touch the Future
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
PART VI: To Touch the Future
Posted: Dec 23, 1999 1:33 PM
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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

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
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
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

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
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:

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 . If you go to the website, you can see how to do

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)


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