Teacher Quality Drives Great Schools

This week, The 74’s Matt Barnum looks at the national push to improve teacher quality — specifically , the Obama administration’s call for states to “evaluate individual teachers and tie those evaluations to pay, tenure, promotion and dismissal decisions.” As President Obama has previously explained, “[The] single most important factor in the classroom is the quality of the person standing at the front of the classroom.”


In the piece, Barnum looks at a variety of studies, all of which highlight the importance of teacher effectiveness in both student achievement and teacher turnover. One prominent study looking at New York City showed that when a high-performing teacher switched schools, achievement jumped in the new school. More reports confirm this effect has been witnessed in other cities, too.

Teacher quality is the bedrock of the historic Vergara v. California case, which looks to ensure that every child in California, regardless of color or zip code, has access to an effective teacher.