The Best Teachers in the World: Why We Don't Have Them and How We Couldby John E. Chubb
Since the 1980s the United States has aimed to become the highest achieving nation in the world, aspiring to produce students who can compete with any on the planet. But for all the talk among political leaders about being first in the world in math and science or having the best schools and highest achievement in the world, there is little talk about having the… See more details below
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Since the 1980s the United States has aimed to become the highest achieving nation in the world, aspiring to produce students who can compete with any on the planet. But for all the talk among political leaders about being first in the world in math and science or having the best schools and highest achievement in the world, there is little talk about having the best teachers. Yet research increasingly indicates that that is exactly what top achievement requires. If the United States wants the best achievement in the world, it will need to seek out, train, and retain the best teachers in the world. Doing so will require accepting reforms much bolder than public education has been willing to accept so far.
In The Best Teachers in the World, John E. Chubb outlines a strategy for raising teacher quality that is very different from the approach this country has historically followed. It takes seriously the aim of raising student achievement to levels comparable to those of the best nations in the world, and it rejects the approach to teacher quality that has been this country's hallmark but that has not given us the best teachers. His strategy contains three elements. First, helping teachers be more productive by turning to technology; reconfiguring schools to use teachers and technology to the best of their abilities could transform teaching and raise compensation to levels necessary to attract and retain top professionals. Second, teachers should be trained not in the schools of education that predominate today but in institutions, including our top universities, and programs, such as Teach for America, that are able to demonstrate their efficacy in producing teachers who can raise student achievement. Third, school principals should be given much more responsibility for hiring, developing, and retaining strong teachers; the best principals were themselves once the best teachers and know how to replicate success. Scientific evidence has been mounting for years that America's approach to teacher quality is not working. It is time for America to acknowledge the need for serious change. This book points in a new direction, illustrated with cases of new ideas at work. The United States could have the best teachers in the world, if it is willing to change its course.
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