Falling teacher aptitude.
Economists have long held that restrictions on the free movement of price in a market will result in disequilibrium between supply and demand. So, the cause and effect that Hoxby and Leigh demonstrate is not an unexpected outcome in the education labor market. It is striking, however, that wage compression seems to have a stronger effect than the standard explanation--increase in job opportunities for women.
From my experience, however, there is another factor, not discussed in the article, which may have a comparable impact on the supply of high-quality teachers: The ease or ability to enter the teaching profession.
Historically, at the same time that collective bargaining exerted downward pressure on salaries, excessive regulations and requirements for teacher certification inserted barriers and restricted entry to the teaching profession. The teaching profession has long confused increase in regulations with promoting higher standards. Unfortunately, limiting access had the opposite effect on teacher quality. As other jobs were opening doors for high-achieving female graduates, the teaching profession closed them.
It was in response to the issue of entry to the market that alternative certification programs have been developed. For example, the American Board's Passport to Teaching certification program allows talented, motivated college graduates to demonstrate mastery of subject matter and knowledge of teaching through a series of rigorous examinations. Opening access has been a big step forward to recruiting high-achieving females; creating performance-based compensation programs would be a giant leap.
President, American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence
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|Date:||Jun 22, 2005|
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