NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Report Advises Focusing On Results In Teaching

July 21, 1999

The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation -- headed by Chester E. Finn Jr, former Assistant Secretary of Education in the Reagan administration -- has released a report sharply at odds with the position of the Clinton administration on education policy.

It recommends scrapping most teacher-hiring regulations -- particularly those that focus on education schools and methodology -- and making it easier for local schools to hire teachers that know their academic fields well.

Here are some highlights of the report, "Better Teachers, Better Schools."

  • "Every additional requirement for prospective teachers -- every additional pedagogical course, every new hoop or hurdle -- will have" the effect of limiting "the potential supply of teachers by narrowing the pipeline while having no bearing whatever on the quality or effectiveness of those in the pipeline."
  • "Instead of requiring a long list of courses and degrees, test future teachers on their knowledge and skills."
  • "Focus relentlessly on results, on whether students are learning."
  • The report calls Clinton's emphasis on tightening teaching requirements "counter-productive" and says this policy will only make things worse.

With retirements and record enrollments, two million new teachers may be needed in the next 10 years.

The Education Department, major teacher unions and accreditation agencies are attacking the report.

Source: Michael Pollack, "Faulting Plans to Raise Bar on Teachers," New York Times, July 21, 1999.


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