No classroom factor is more important in the success of students than teachers. Unfortunately, that message often gets lost in today’s education debates.
We are particularly concerned about the toll that the bashing of teachers, budget cuts, and pressure to produce test scores is taking on our nation’s teaching force. Teachers educate, nurture, inspire, sooth and give of themselves tirelessly. Quality teaching matters most for students from low-income families. That is why the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign has identified well-prepared and highly qualifed teachers as one of our four priority areas of advocacy and outreach.
Writing for Voices in Urban Education, Linda Darling-Hammond – the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University where she has launched the Stanford Educational Leadership Institute and the School Redesign Network– wisely observes that well-prepared and effective teachers are the most unequally distributed educational resource in the United States. Too often, the most effective teachers scatter to the more affluent school districts, while the poorer districts are populated with lesser experienced teachers.
To turn the tide, we must focus on both teacher quality (recruiting the right people and preparing them effectively) and teaching quality (encouraging the most effective practices and providing the most supportive conditions) to build a useful policy system that encourages excellent instruction and strong student learning.
Click here to read Hammond’s full article.