U.S. Is Urged to Raise Teachers’ Status

To improve its public schools, the United States should raise the status of the teaching profession by recruiting more qualified candidates, training them better and paying them more, according to a new report on comparative educational systems.

Andreas Schleicher, who oversees the international achievement test known by its acronym Pisa, says in his report that top-scoring countries like Korea, Singapore and Finland recruit only high-performing college graduates for teaching positions, support them with mentoring and other help in the classroom, and take steps to raise respect for the profession.

“Teaching in the U.S. is unfortunately no longer a high-status occupation,” Mr. Schleicher says in the report, prepared in advance of an educational conference that opens in New York on Wednesday. “Despite the characterization of some that teaching is an easy job, with short hours and summers off, the fact is that successful, dedicated teachers in the U.S. work long hours for little pay and, in many cases, insufficient support from their leadership.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Education

7 comments on “U.S. Is Urged to Raise Teachers’ Status

  1. AnglicanFirst says:

    Then, possibly, with “more qualified” teachers we can increase class size to reduce bloated teacher staffing and eliminate the need for teacher’s aides in ‘main line’ classrooms.

  2. William Witt says:

    Being a teacher myself, I can affirm that there is no correlation between teaching qualifications and ability to teach larger classes. The best teaching is as close to one on one as possible. Larger classes mean less individual attention, and poorer quality of education. Any teacher, no matter how competent or qualified, is limited by physical limitations of time and attention. Beyond a certain class size, quality of education will suffer. This is at least one of the reasons many people who can afford it prefer to send their children to private schools, and why educational institutions often boast of teacher/student ratios. No student learns well in a classroom where he or she is lost in the crowd. If people think that education of children is a worthwhile activity, then they need to be willing to support qualified teachers financially and with benefits, and to fund a high teacher to student ratio. If the education of children is not important, then by all means, find ways to encourage qualified teachers to seek employment in other fields–like oversized classrooms.

  3. MKEnorthshore says:

    “In South Korea, teachers are known as ‘nation builders,’ and I think it’s time we treated our teachers with the same level of respect,” Mr. Obama said in a speech on education on Monday.

    Do the Korean teachers belong to labor unions?

  4. Billy says:

    #2, I think most folks support education as being important. The question is how to measure effective vs. ineffective teachers and then how to get rid of ineffective teachers, who are protected by the tenure system and by teachers unions. Give me a solution to those problems and I’d be willing to pay a lot more taxes to support education in our country.

  5. AnglicanFirst says:

    Reply to Wm Witt (#2.).
    K through 12 classess of 22 to 26 students worked quite well for my two brothers and myself.

    Students who had families that were culturally supportive of academic achievement did well. Students from academically non-supportive families and from poorly functioning families tended to under-achieve academically.

    In addition, many families who are wildly supportive of their children’s athletic participation at school do not demonstrate the same strong support for their childrens’ academic achievement.

    I agree that a combination of competent teachers and smaller class size can improve median/average class performance. But this shouldn’t be done at the tax payers’ expense and/or as an attempt at solving cultural deficiencies within a student’s family. Some families just don’t care and that is a very sad thing to watch. But intervening in the cultural mind-sets of families goes well beyond the reponsibilities of taxpayer supported education.

  6. Larry Morse says:

    If you want to raise teachers’ status, make it possible to fire the worst and the mediocre and then make it mandatory to hire the protentially best and to then monitor their progress. In short, do everything we don’t do now. Hwere’s a good starting rule: NEVER hire any teacher who majored in Education. Larry

  7. Sarah says:

    Another way to “raise teachers’ status” [a suspect way to describe what needs to happen, but I let that pass] is to eliminate the bureaucracy preventing teachers from making decisions.

    As managers and VPs know in excellent corporations, you have to hire the best — the stars — as much as possible, then get out of their way while they make decisions and exercise their creative, problem-solving gifts.

    One of the principles of “jobs which have no status” is that the individuals who hold such jobs *have no freedom or autonomy* to be excellent and make good choices.

    The more regulated, then, an industry becomes from the State, the less status such jobs intrinsically have, until finally, *everyone feels as values as a postal worker.*

    Of course, what many people actually mean by raising people’s status is “give the State more money.”

    That’s usually what it all comes down to when apparatchiks start mouthing about status.