The increasing importance of teacher preparation quality

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In 1988, the most common level of experience of K-12 teachers was 14 years. Twenty years later, the overwhelmingly largest group of teachers are in their first year on the job. Whether this was caused by No Child Left Behind, the retirement of Baby Boomers, or the ability to make more money elsewhere is unclear. What is obvious, however, is that teacher preparation is now more important than ever.

This graph shows that first year teachers have a negative impact on student performance. Does the difference between their first and second years need to be so dramatic? With nearly seven percent of teachers in their first year on the job, teacher preparation programs need to start closing this gap. Otherwise, efforts to improve student performance will continue to be undercut by teachers still trying to learn their profession.

Graham Drake