Quality Counts 2004 Released, Teacher Quality Update

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Last Wednesday, Education Week released their annual "Quality Counts" edition. It contains some useful, albeit depressing, statistics on teacher quality in 2003:
12 states still do not even require beginning teachers to pass a basic skills test (that s an 8th grade test of basic skills, folks).
15 states do not require high school teachers to pass a subject matter knowledge test to get certified.
29 states do not require middle school teachers to pass a subject matter knowledge test to earn a beginning-teacher license.
Only 2 states, Florida and Texas, require teacher evaluations to be tied to student achievement.
As further indication that politics, not need, sets states' agendas, only 15 states finance mentoring programs for all novice teachers but 37 states provide financial incentives to teachers to earn National Board Certification.
Out of nearly 1400 teacher education programs, only 41 teacher education programs were identified in 2003 as at-risk or low- performing&no problem here, Houston.
A mere 9 states have policies listed encouraging pay-for- performance (and we know from closer inspection that few of these amount to much).
Lest we have any illusions, we have our work cut out for us.