The Teacher Labour Market and Teacher Quality
A growing body of empirical evidence shows teacher quality to be the most important schooling factor predicting students' learning gains. Unfortunately, US public schools face difficulties attracting the best and brightest college graduates. Over the last several decades there has been a notable shift in the occupational choices of prospective teachers. The most academically proficient college graduates were, in the 1960s, as likely to enter teaching as any other occupation. Today, however, teachers are disproportionately drawn from the lower end of the academic proficiency distribution. We explore these trends and speculate on the reasons for them. In particular, we focus on the roles of compensation structures and changes in the labour market in explaining the occupational decisions made by existing college graduates and what these foreshadow for the teacher work-force in the future. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.
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