Hoover Institution Press today released The Best Teachers in the World: Why We Don’t Have Them and How We Could in which author John E. Chubb outlines a three-pronged strategy for raising teacher quality that is very different from the approach this country has historically followed. Chubb argues that, to develop the highest-achieving students in the world, the United States must attract, develop, and retain substantially stronger teachers, particularly if it wants to equal or surpass the achievement of top-performing nations in the world. The best achievement in the world requires the best teachers in the world—which US education policy has not been delivering.
“John Chubb’s The Best Teachers in the World thankfully rescues us, just in time, from the usual long list of qualities, skills, and degrees we should demand of our teachers,” said Jay Mathews, The Washington Post education columnist and blogger and author of Work Hard Be Nice: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America. “Instead, he looks closely at how great teachers are born in our best schools, places such as the Knowledge Is Power Program, in which educators are allowed to work together and create approaches that respond to real conditions in disadvantaged neighborhoods. This should be required reading for all parents, all school boards, and, most particularly, all education schools.”
In devising his strategies for raising student achievement, Chubb draws on scientific research and prominent examples of schools, colleges, and other educational organizations that have developed or are successfully developing strong teachers and increasing student achievement. His three-part strategy for raising student achievement includes, one, reconfiguring schools to use teachers and technology to the best of their abilities. He argues that this could transform the profession because teaching would become more highly skilled work and that, as a result, the profession would become more selective. Two, Chubb advocates eliminating teacher licensing requirements, replacing them with programs that demand high aptitude, and on-the-job training, such as Peabody College and Teach for America—programs that also measure quality and demonstrate efficacy in producing teachers who can raise achievement. Three, Chubb recommends more attention to leadership. He advocates giving school principals increased responsibility for hiring, developing, and retaining strong teachers and points to the critical role principals play in creating a school culture that promotes teacher development and, most importantly, student achievement.
John E. Chubb, a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, is a member of Hoover’s Koret Task Force on K–12 Education and is interim CEO of Education Sector, a Washington, DC–based nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization.
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