Giving Kids the Chaff: How to Find and Keep the Teachers We Need

Policy Forum
September 25, 2006 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM EDT


Featuring Marie Gryphon, Cato Adjunct Scholar, Cato Institute; with comments by Arthur Wise, President, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

American children returning to school this fall face uncertain prospects: recent research shows that excellent teaching is critically important, but America has too few excellent teachers. In a new Cato Institute Policy Analysis, Marie Gryphon argues that public school hiring practices systematically fail to separate good from bad teaching applicants, particularly in math and science. Making a bad situation worse, the quality of the education labor force also declines over time because rigid compensation schemes drive top teachers out of the profession, leaving behind their less-capable counterparts. Contrary to popular belief, across-the-board pay increases may actually lower average teacher quality by attracting larger numbers of poor-quality applicants to teaching, applicants whom the current system cannot screen out. Gryphon concludes that only market forces can separate the wheat from the chaff in the teaching profession.,/p>