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Unfulfilled Promise: Ensuring High Quality Teachers for Our Nation's Schools.

UNFULFILLED PROMISE: Ensuring High Quality Teachers for Our Nation's Schools. The Southeast Center for Teaching Quality, 2004. 22 pages. The Southeast Center for Teaching Quality (SECTQ) has quickly established itself as a national leader on issues related to teaching quality. This report demonstrates the high-quality work that has become the standard for the center. Researchers focused on case studies in four southern states, 12 districts, and 24 high-need schools to determine if the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation has been effective in increasing the number of highly qualified teachers. The answer, the

authors say, is no. In fact, they argue that the NCLB's emphasis on content knowledge and the lack of financial and technical support combined to drive states to lower standards for teachers. Districts continue to struggle with meeting the requirements of NCLB. The Center reported on three major findings:

* "Highly qualified" does not ensure high quality. NCLB places great emphasis on what teachers know, not on what they can do. The researchers report that successful teachers have both content knowledge and pedagogical skills, including knowing how to address varying learning needs within the classroom. The center also points out the irony of alternative certification programs that declare those with no prior preparation as highly qualified when they often have not passed the state's assessment for content.

* Hard-to-staff solutions are hard to find. Although the averages make it appear that many districts were on their way to meeting the 100 percent highly qualified requirements, the difficulties faced in hard-to-staff schools for retention and recruitment were largely unchanged. Even with the additional NCLB funds, leaders in challenging urban and rural districts continued to struggle to compete in hiring and retaining teachers. In terms of strategies, few could offer better working conditions or long-term support for teachers, beyond the traditional signing bonuses.

* Same approaches will lead to the same results. Few of the schools reported changes or innovations in their recruitment, retention, or other professional development practices as a result of NCLB. The lack of local capacity makes it very difficult to customize in order to meet local needs. Although some of the larger urban districts established innovative approaches to recruiting and retaining teachers (e.g., free tuition, housing loans, and specialized master's program in urban teaching), they were instituted long before NCLB and result from local leadership initiatives, community support, and investment in teacher quality.

The report offers recommendations to the federal and state governments and local districts. States require clear and consistent guidance and support, including sufficient funding, in order to implement NCLB. It will take a coordinated effort by all involved to repair and adjust the way we recruit, induct, retain, and support teachers and ensure high-quality teaching. Copies of the report may be downloaded from Published Report.pdf.
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Title Annotation:Special Publications; report
Publication:Childhood Education
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2005
Previous Article:Grammar instruction and technology.
Next Article:State of the World's Children 2005: Childhood Under Threat.

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