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.