Urban Teacher Center (UTC) was founded on the core concepts that as a nation we need to build an effective corps of teachers, who are accountable for their performance and are prepared and rewarded for staying in the profession.
UTC is committed to continuing the promotion of knowledge sharing that simultaneously reflects the growing body of research on teacher quality.
We need to build a corps of effective teachers
Studies overwhelmingly suggest that teacher quality is the single most important factor in student learning. Accordingly, UTC has made building a corps of effective teachers the focus of its preparation.
Supplemental research supporting teacher quality:
- “How the World’s Best-Performing School Systems Come Out on Top” - McKinsey and Company
- “Identifying Effective Teachers Using Performance on the Job” - Kane, Staiger and Gordon
- “Teacher Quality” – Eric Hanushek
- “Achieving Teacher and Principal Excellence” – Andrew Rotherham
Who consistently receive effective preparation,
The de-coupling of performance from results permeates every aspect of the educational enterprise, extending into many teacher preparation programs. Despite the recommendations of numerous reports, many teacher education programs continue to set low program entry standards.
As a result, there is not enough attrition from teacher education programs. New teachers enter the teaching profession with enormous variation in knowledge and ability because teacher education programs vary widely in curriculum content and rigor of coursework.
Supplemental research supporting better teacher preparation programs:
In recent years, alternative certification programs have provided a growing share of new teachers. Like UTC, some alternative certification programs select teacher candidates with excellent inputs, including those who have attended highly selective colleges and have demonstrated leadership abilities in other fields or activities. However, like traditional programs, all other alternative certification programs still graduate teachers with wide variation in their ability to improve student achievement.
UTC is the only certification program, alternative or traditional, that guarantees their graduates can demonstrate student achievement gains.
Supplemental research supporting alternative preparation programs:
- Identifying Effective Teachers Using Performance on the Job - Gordon, Kane and Staiger, 2006
Are held accountable according to student performance,
The best way to gauge whether teachers will be effective is to assess whether they have been effective. Even with the most thorough screening process, districts are generally ill-equipped to screen ineffective candidates out of the workforce.
Teacher quality has not been shown to correlate to experience, degrees, license or preparation status, teacher test performance or undergraduate coursework. Only an assessment of past performance can predict future performance.
Supplemental research supporting the lack of proxy for performance:
- Can You Recognize an Effective Teacher when You Recruit One? - Rockoff, Jacob, Kane and Staiger, 2008
- Most Likely to Succeed - Malcolm Gladwell
And enable successful teachers to continue what they love - Teaching.
Deprived of information regarding individual teacher performance tied to student achievement, schools and districts can not make strategic choices in staffing their highest need schools, support their highest need students, or determine whom to promote to leadership positions.
The inability to predict teacher effectiveness, combined with state certification criteria tied largely to coursework and ineffective tenure processes, virtually ensures that new teachers retain their teaching positions for life.
Supplemental research on how districts make decisions to promote and place teachers:
- Gordon, R., Kane, T. J., & Staiger, D. O. (2006). Identifying Effective Teachers Using Performance on the Job. Discussion Paper 2006-01. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution
- Hanushek, E. (1992). The trade-off between child quantity and quality. Journal of Political Economy, 100(1), 118
- Koretz, D. (2008). Measuring Up: What Educational testing Really Tells Us. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
- Rockoff, J. E., Jacob, B., Kane, T. J., & Staiger, D. O. (2008). Can You Recognize an Effective Teacher when You Recruit One? National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series, 14485