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Today’s leaders are consistent with researching and finding new ways to make our education system more effective. In most states to become a teacher, you must have a bachelor’s degree from the institution you attended. There is no law stating as of now that you have to have a degree in the subject you want to teach. Any teacher who has a degree above a bachelor’s degree is then rewarded with a specific salary increase (How to Obtain, 2001). Some states require an internship, and many require different preliminary testing before you can become a certified teacher (Certification Requirements for, 1995).
An important issue that has started to gain popularity is the issue of teachers learning new technology that is now available. There are many websites and companies dedicated to getting schools to gain advancement in technology. Most schools today are using the same tools that have been around since the beginning of time. There is no obligation for teachers right now to learn about technology and how it can improve student’s learning and academics (Hardin, 2000). We have been blessed to have the internet, and many new digital machines that can further learning. There are high hopes for the future of our schools to take advantage of this growth and use them regularly in the classroom. The generations of students today are growing up using the computer. It is appropriate and a must that teacher’s use the computer and internet in school. Not only does it provide so much information that is useful for a pupil’s education, but helps that person later in life. Eventually most things are going to be done over the internet and using digitally advanced tools, so children should have the use of them in schools (Schank, 2000).
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
On January 8th 2002, there was a law passed by President George W. Bush called the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The No Child Left Behind Act makes the minimum qualifications required by teachers. These qualifications are a bachelor’s degree, full state certification and demonstration of competency of the subject that will be taught. Each state has the liberty to choose what this certification includes according to its own needs. This law states that all 50 states must develop a plan to make sure that all teachers of core academic subjects are highly qualified for that position bye the end of the 2005-2006 school year (No Child Left, 2004, pp.
The act gives the state’s government the flexibility to hire highly qualified teachers. They are able to assess other routes to certification, and incentive pay for those teachers in high-need schools as well as subject areas like math and science (pp. 5). There are studies that prove that qualified teachers are crucial to a student’s achievement. The act requires new teachers to get immediate qualification. Elementary school teachers are required to take a state test on knowledge and skills in reading and language arts, math, writing, and other basic areas of elementary school education (pp. 10). Middle school and high school teachers are required to either take a state test in each subject they are planning to teach, or they have to have majored in that subject, have an advanced degree, or advanced certification or credentials (pp. 11).
For a teacher to be considered highly qualified, it sounds normal that they would have to perform a series of tests provided by the state to make sure they have the education that is essential to teaching the appropriate subjects. Under the No Child Left Behind, there is no obligation for all teachers to be state tested. The only teachers that it is mandatory for are new elementary teachers (pp. 9).
As of now, not one state in this country has made any big step in improving training a teacher receives. Only 11 states are being consistent in finding ways for teachers to prove their knowledge of subject-matter capability. States are now advised to find new ways of increasing academic achievement and grades for every student, whether at low or high levels of achievement previously. States are also being told to make their methods for evaluating the skills of current teachers more effective (Richard, 2004, pp. 20).
Government for Teacher Quality
The act aids states in funding, so they each have the resources to perform an assortment of activities to support teachers and raise the standards of what teaching once was. Each school district that obtains Title I funds are required to spend at least 5 percent of them on activities that will assist teachers professional development. The amount aside for professional development in 2005 will reach at least $653.7 million dollars. The No Child Left Behind Act helps states support and improve teaching and learning. States submit applications to the Department telling them their annual goals for increasing the amount of highly qualified teachers. Districts that are being given Educational Technology State Grants must spend at least 25 percent of that money on high-quality professional development to integrate technology into instruction (No Child Left, 2004, pp. 13). The English Language Acquisition State Grants Program (Title III) says that states can use up to 5 percent of the money for professional development. They provide more than $68 million dollars that is strictly for improving the teaching of English language learners (pp. 12-13).
This past May, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts who was also the democratic presidential candidate, released campaign proposals to improve teacher quality. Among his proposals was one to connect teacher salary to student achievement. This is a growing point in many school districts in the United States. This was also a recommendation to Senator Kerry by the Teaching Commission, which is an extremely high-profile national panel that is based in New York City (Davis, 2004, pp. 31). James B. Hunt Jr., former Governor of North Carolina, is in the process of making sure that better teachers are in every classroom. He is doing this by trying to pay more to teachers when their student’s performance excels. This is one of the hottest and most controversial topics when it comes to teaching quality. There are a variety of reasons a teacher’s salary would increase. It could be because they are working in hard-to-staff schools that are in high need of qualified teachers, they are earning new credentials, and because of a student’s test score improving. It is common sense that “teachers whose students learn more should be paid more, says Hunt. James B. Hunt Jr. is fond of North Carolina, who beginning in 1996 decided to offer $1500 dollars annually to teachers who are employed by schools that surpass test-score goals. Florida, Texas, and Iowa are among other states who have debated performance pay. It has been said that a goal for the government was to “raise pay for teachers, especially in the schools and subject where great teachers are in the shortest supply…We must improve mentoring, professional development, and new technology training for teachers” (Robelen, 2004, pp. 21).
Every student has a different way of learning. Some students learn visually, other learn by reciting facts out loud, and there are even some that retain knowledge just by hearing it said, as in a lecture. Didactic teaching is passing on knowledge or teaching how to do something. Evocative teaching places the responsibility of a student's growth of knowledge on the student. "Teachers require tolerance and understanding for these and other differences in learners" (Ducharme, 2004, pp. 2438). Many teachers do not understand the need of different types of teaching which becomes very frustrating to students. It is important for teachers to learn new and different ways of teaching to meet all of their students’ educational needs.
How do we get highly qualified teachers?
In order for the United States to gain better quality teachers, we have to first raise the standards. There is a lot of controversy right now as to whether or not teaching is considered a profession. This is because of their salaries, their lack of requirements to be considered a teacher, as well as other points. To attract more qualified teachers, we need to put things in our schools that will pull them in to them. This needs to begin by raising the salaries of most teachers. There are many that are working in inner city schools, or schools that do not have a lot of money and are getting paid a lot less than average. High quality teachers are what are going to teach generations to come. They are going to be teaching the generation that will one day run our country. It is important that their pay equals the amount of work some teachers put into their students and their classrooms.
Working conditions in schools need to be changed as well. There are teachers who have classes of 35 children to one teacher which is too many. Schools should have the appropriate ratio of teachers to students to make sure every student in that school is getting one on one time with their teacher if they need it. This is the only way that teachers who are highly qualified will work in schools that are hard to employ normally (Kennedy, 2004).
Teacher certification is a topic that is talked about changing often. Different states have different requirements for getting certified, but most have the same basic requirements. Many states in America today are letting non-traditionally licensed teachers teach because of the high demand for teachers in many schools. There was a study done recently (Goldhaber and Brewer, 200) that had results to prove that certification of a teacher is a necessity. The study compared the levels of achievement of high school students who were taught by teachers with different types of certification. It showed that the students who had higher levels of performance on average were taught by fully-licensed teachers (Goldhaber, 2003). Only two thirds of all states in this country require that teachers who are trying to get certification take an exam on how well they know the subject matter to get a teaching license (Suh, 2002). It is a large responsibility and need of individual states to regulate who schools hire to teach. Schools have to again raise their standards of what is acceptable in order to give students the teachers that are going to give them the best learning experience possible.
Research (Goldhaber & Brewer, 1999) has also showed that teachers who major in the specific subject that they teach have a much more positive impact on their student’s academic achievement than teachers who majored in a broader area such as education. “The quality of a student’s teacher is the single most important factor in a student’s education” (Suh, 2002).
Education is a major issue in this country, yet it is still being overlooked. If teachers knew that the standards in which they are perceived is correlated to the way they are paid, teacher quality would rise. It is shown that the way the teacher teaches, for example visually or by lecture, is highly important and affects the way a student takes in the information. The success of a student is highly based on the quality of a teacher, because the more respect a student has for the teacher and the teaching methods in which they use, the better students will perform in the classroom. Society is realizing the importance of teacher quality in this country, and they are working fast to make it a priority in our schools. Today, a teacher’s role in a student’s life is just one of their superiors, but we are hoping to change that position to a role model as well.
Certification Requirements for 50 states. (1995). Retrieved November 10, 2004, from http://www.uky.edu/Education/TEP/usacert.html
This site let you check all requirements to get teacher certification in each of the 50 states in the U. S.
Hardin, J. (2000, January 12). Digital Technology and it’s Impact on Education.
Retrieved November 3, 2004, from http://www.ed.gov/Technology/Futures/hardin
This website talks about how technology plays a part in education today.
How to Obtain Pennsylvania Certification. (2001). Retrieved November 10, 2004, from
This website only talked about specifically what you needed to get a teacher certification in the state of Pennsylvania.
Schank, R. (2000, January). Futureperspective – A vision of Education for the 21st
Century. Retrieved November 3, 2004, from http://www.thejournal.com/magazine/vault/A2598.cfm
Schank talks about the future of our educational system and what is in store for the future generations.
Davis, Michelle R. (2004, October 13). Different Approaches Taken on Education Policy
Advice. Education Weekly, 24, 31.
Kennedy, Kathleen. (2004). States Making Some Gains in Teacher Quality, Study Says.
Education Week, Volume 24, Issue 2. Retrieved September 29, 2004, from EBSCO database.
Richard, Alan. (2004, June 23). Governors Seek to Improve Teacher Quality. Education
Weekly, 23, 24.
Richard, Alan. (2004, July 28). ECS Gives Mixed Marks on ‘No Child’ Efforts. Education Weekly, 23, 20.
Robelen, Eric W. (2004, July 28). Democrats Stress Issue of Teacher Quality. Education
Weekly, 23, 21.
This article talks about how the Democratic Presidential Candidate is handling teacher quality and how it is an important issue to their campaign.
Denver Pay Plan Could Prove Model of Things to Come. (2004, May). Education USA, pp. 1.
Ducharme, Edward R. (2002). Teacher Education. In The encyclopedia of education. (Volume 7, pp. 2438-2448). New York: Macmillan Reference USA Edward R. Ducharme talks about how students could teach less, while students would learn more.
McNergney, Robert F. (2002). Teacher Evaluation. In the Encyclopedia of Education. (Volume 7, pp. 2453). New York: Macmillan Reference USA
Goldhaber, Dan. (2003). Indicators of Teacher Quality. Eric Digest. Retrieved September
23, 2004, from EBSCO database.
Suh, Thomas. (2002). The National Council on Teacher Quality: Expanding the Teacher
Quality Discussion. Eric Digests.
Hess, Frederick, & Rotherham, Andrew. (Eds.). (2004). A qualified teacher in every
classroom?: Appraising old answers and new ideas. Massachusetts: Harvard Education Press.
U.S. Department of Education. (2004). No Child Left Behind: A toolkit for teachers.