Article: Raising teacher quality around the world
Do you know that other high-performing countries spend a higher proportion of their education dollar on teachers than we do here in the United States? In this article Vivian Stewart illuminates various strategies used in other countries to recruit and professionally develop a growing teaching force.
The interesting strategies:
- England: Raised the status of the profession through an advertising campaign and televising teacher award programs.
- Singapore: Recruits prospective teachers in the top one third of the secondary class.
- Hard to teach areas: What I found most interesting – China and Australia provide incentives, money and bonuses, for teachers to teach in areas for which they have a difficulty finding teachers...Hmmm opposite here in the USA.
- Merit pay: Both Finland and Canada reject merit pay on the basis that it does more harm than good. In Singapore teacher performance is appraised based on classroom instruction collaborated with community groups and colleagues at the school – NOT just a test.
Linda Darling-Hammond notes that we compare students test scores to countries that outscore us, but we do not pay attention to what they do! To improve test scores, the USA needs to invest in teacher development. We can learn from others. Each teacher can only improve him or herself, but we need a collective capacity.
To help our education system we need a systems approach so that we can build collective capacity (Fullan, 2011). Other countries have a wholistic strategy, which includes changing the values of the nation.
Thought about unions: Our politicians have a strong voice in education but are ill equipped to make professional decisions that positively affect learning. Perhaps the unions could wield their influence to make this happen. Currently, teachers unions represents approximately 3,000,000 teachers in the United States. In addition both the NEA and the AFT are led by a plethora of education professionals. Could these unions wield their influence to advocate for teacher quality programs that advocate small and established teacher development programs that would encourage growth for all of us. Currently, our unions have seemed to be reactive. Could that change. Could we be proactive rather than reactive?
Type of Reading: Practice Education
Why: Vital for those interested in a system change in developing teachers.
Web Article: Raising Teacher Quality Around the World