Carnegie Corporation Challenges Nation to Ensure an “Excellent Teacher for Every Student in Every School”

A Strategy for Recruiting, Preparing and Retaining In-School Talent

Three to four years with an effective teacher can close the gap separating persistently under-performing students from their higher-performing peers. To ensure that a child, especially a child in a low-performing school, will get a high performing teacher four years running demands a coordinated effort by federal, state and local governments, as well as the community, parents and private education funders, to strategically recruit and prepare, develop and manage teachers and principals.

A strategy to significantly improve the talent in the nation’s lowest performing schools so that all students can succeed at higher levels is outlined in The Elusive Talent Strategy: An Excellent Teacher for Every Student in Every School, a new paper published by Carnegie Corporation of New York, a private grantmaking foundation.  The paper is available at .

“The least effective teachers and principals are all too often found in high-poverty, high-minority and high-immigrant schools,” said Talia Milgrom-Elcott, author of the paper.  “We need skilled, committed teachers in front of these classrooms—and every classroom—if we are to equip America’s students with the skills and knowledge they need to participate in both the global economy and our increasingly complex democracy.”

The paper, which describes a strategy for system-wide change, draws lessons from work Carnegie Corporation has supported with increased focus since 2007.  It comes at a moment when President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have positioned teaching atop the national agenda.  “We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones,” Obama said in the 2011 State of the Union. He continued his address by urging young people to consider teaching as a career choice.

“Recruiting, training, assessing and retaining top teachers and school leaders is critical to boosting student achievement,” said Milgrom-Elcott.  “As the primary asset of the American educational system, and as the bedrock of our democracy and economy, our nation’s educators deserve to be part of an esteemed profession that attracts the most talented graduates, provides support to improve and grow, rewards excellence and doesn’t make allowances for continued poor performance.”

The report offers policies and actions to advance innovations aimed at increasing the skills and quality of the K-12 teacher workforce, including:

* Prepare teachers better, hire the best, and incentivize them to work where they are needed most;
* Support teachers and principals so that they can succeed and develop them throughout their careers so that they, and their students, keep improving;
* Use data to accurately assess and evaluate teacher performance; and
* Retain the best teachers and, when necessary, fire the worst.

About Carnegie Corporation of New York

Carnegie Corporation of New York is a philanthropic foundation created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to do “real and permanent good in this world.”