What the U.S. can learn about improving teacher effectiveness

International school systems can help the U.S. improve its teacher recruitment methods, a new report suggests.

U.S. policy makers and educators should look to high-performing global education systems for valuable lessons as they seek to develop systems that improve teacher and school leader effectiveness, according to a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE) and the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE).

The report comes in advance of the International Summit on the Teaching Profession, hosted by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and designed to engage countries around the globe in an intensive discussion about promising practices for recruiting, preparing, developing, supporting, retaining, evaluating, and compensating world-class teachers.

“Teacher and Leader Effectiveness in High-Performing Education Systems,” edited by Linda Darling-Hammond, a Stanford University professor and co-director of SCOPE, and Robert Rothman, a senior AEE fellow, examines highly effective lessons from global education systems that develop and support teachers and leaders in Finland, Ontario, and Singapore.

“While there might be disagreement about the most effective ways to measure and develop effectiveness, educators and policy makers generally agree that ensuring that teachers are capable of improving student learning—and that school leaders are able to help them do so—is perhaps the most significant step they can take to raise student achievement,” Darling-Hammond and Rothman wrote.

These jurisdictions were chosen because they have attained among the highest and most equitable performance in the world on international assessments and because they attribute their success to their efforts to recruit, prepare, develop, and retain highly effective educators. They are comparable in population to mid-sized U.S. states.

“Nations that take student learning seriously do not leave teacher quality to chance,” said Darling-Hammond. “They ensure that all teachers get access to the knowledge and skills they need to be successful, and they support their improvement throughout their careers.”

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