U.S. Will Not Find Enough Great Teachers Even With Current, Bold Approaches - According to Public Impact's Latest Report

Study shows that current efforts will fall far short of placing a great teacher in every classroom and reveals how to dramatically increase student access to teachers who can close achievement gaps and raise the bar for students

Jun 02, 2010, 06:00 ET from Public Impact

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., June 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Even if America's current efforts to enhance recruitment of great teachers and dismiss low performers were wildly successful, only 40 percent of classes would be taught by great teachers in the next half-decade, a new report finds. But by adding high-performer retention policies and expanding the reach of the 800,000 great teachers our country already has, 87 percent of students could have access in a half-decade to teachers who close internal and international achievement gaps.

Dr. Bryan C. Hassel and Emily Ayscue Hassel, co-directors of education consulting firm Public Impact, have released Opportunity at the Top: How America's Best Teachers Could Close the Gaps, Raise the Bar, and Keep Our Nation Great as the first in their series Building an Opportunity Culture for America's Teachers, funded by The Joyce Foundation. In the report, available at www.opportunityculture.org, the authors state, "Today, great teachers reach a mere fraction of the children whom they could help, are paid a fraction of their worth, and exit teaching in numbers too large."

At the root of the problem, according to the report, are policies that actively work against the goal of keeping great teachers and leveraging their talent. Under teacher pay scales, for example, the best teachers earn the same as the worst. And because of arbitrary class-size limits, a great elementary school teacher reaches only 600 students over a 30-year career-the same as an ineffective teacher.

"We've been picking the pockets of our best teachers for decades, and children have paid the price," Dr. Hassel says. The report calls for education leaders to build an "opportunity culture" that would:

  • Adopt policies that disproportionately retain high performers;
  • Extend the reach - and compensation - of the best teachers;
  • Recruit more great teachers; and
  • Dismiss low-performing teachers who do not get results.

For other works in this series, visit www.opportunityculture.org.

About the Authors:

BRYAN C. HASSEL is Co-Director of Public Impact. A national expert on transforming public education through innovative strategies, his work has appeared in national publications including Education Next and Education Week. Dr. Hassel holds a doctorate in public policy from Harvard University and a master's degree in politics from Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar.

EMILY AYSCUE HASSEL is Co-Director of Public Impact. She provides thought leadership on human capital, organizational transformation, and emerging opportunities for dramatic change in public education. Ms. Hassel received her law and master's in business administration degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

About Public Impact: Public Impact is a national education policy and management consulting firm based in Chapel Hill, N.C. Visit: www.publicimpact.com.

SOURCE Public Impact