The quality of the teacher is the most influential school-related factor when it comes to establishing excellence in education. But in the United States, only 23 percent of teachers finished among the top one-third of their college graduating class, and only 14 percent of top graduates teach in high-poverty schools. Once a teacher is hired, issues arise such as further developing that teacher's skills, evaluating performance, providing competitive compensation, and establishing incentives that encourage effective teachers to remain in the profession. How can the profession be restructured to attract and retain larger numbers of highly educated, skilled teachers? What initiatives, both public and private, are succeeding in keeping the most talented teachers in the profession? Is the current political debate in several states over public employee unions helpful or detrimental to improving the teaching profession?
Member, California State Board of Education; Principal, Vaughn Next Century Learning Center
Co-Founder, Knowledge Universe Education; Founder, TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement