Year of publication
Procedings of the American Enterprise Institute Conference, A Qualified Teacher in Every Classroom: Appraising Old Answers and New Ideas
Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press
In F. M. Hess, A. J. Rotherham & K. Walsh (Eds.)
A central question facing education policymakers is how to structure entry pathways into teaching. One possibility is to set no requirements, allowing public school administrators to choose their preferred candidates from the pool of individuals interested in a teaching position. An alternative is to require some set of qualifications for those teaching in the public schools. These qualifications could include a high school degree, a bachelor's degree, required courses, specific work experience, and or minimum performance on an exam or series of exams. There is little solid evidence that requiring qualifications benefits students or, if so, which qualifications are best. In fact, short of understanding the effects of setting requirements, we know little about the direct effects these qualifications have on teaching ability. These are quite different questions, as teachers may perform better with a given qualification, but requiring that qualification may separately influence the overall effectiveness of the teacher work force if it alters who chooses to teach or where teachers choose to teach. For example, college graduates with ample opportunities in other occupations may be less likely to pursue teaching jobs if they are required to complete many additional courses before entering the classroom to teach.