NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Failing Teachers Still Allowed to Teach

January 13, 2000

Although 39 states require educators to pass basic literary and math tests, 36 of them allow some people to teach even after they have failed the exams. That was one finding in the fourth annual 50-state survey by the journal Education Week, titled "Quality Counts 2000: Who Should Teach?"

The study largely focused on the question of why teachers leave the teaching profession.

  • Nearly one out of every five new teachers leaves the profession after three years.
  • Teachers who score highest on college admission tests are the ones most likely to quit the profession -- often for more lucrative employment elsewhere.
  • The pay gap between teachers and other college educated professionals is widening -- to as much as $32,500 less each year than other professionals with graduate degrees and similar levels of experience.
  • Fewer than half the states expect educators to earn secondary licenses in the subjects they plan to teach -- and only nine states require middle-school educators to pass tests in those subjects.

While the report did not rank the best and worst states, those earning the best overall grades were Connecticut, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, West Virginia, New York, South Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Maine, New Mexico and Texas.

States receiving the lowest overall grades were Hawaii, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, Tennessee, Washington and Utah.

Source: Patricia Talorico, "Low Pay Part of Teacher Shortage," USA Today, January 13, 2000.


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