The McKinsey & Company released a report titled “Closing the talent gap: Attracting and retaining top-third graduates to careers in teaching.”  I’ll summarize the findings of the report:

  • The most effective factor in an effective school is the teacher – Duh.
  • The U.S. doesn’t have a systematic or strategic policy in place to attract and retain top-tier teachers.
  • Reform efforts, i.e. Race to the Top, focus (almost exclusively) on current teachers and their effectiveness, giving very little attention to recruiting future top teachers with strong academic backgrounds.
  • Singapore, Finland, and South Korea recruit 100% of their teachers from the top 1/3 of graduating classes compared to U.S. that recruits 23% from the top 1/3 (and 14% for high poverty schools).
  • Makes the assumption that top-tier teachers have a strong influence on student / school achievement

What best practices to recruit and retain top-tier teachers can we learn from other countries with high performing school systems?  The report detailed a few findings:

  • Admissions to their rigorous teacher education programs is highly selective
  • Some governments pay tuition, fees, and stipend for those selected – NICE!
  • Admissions monitors the market place, taking in less applicants as the job market tightens.  The benefit is increased job security.
  • More $$$ for teacher salaries
  • Increased opportunities for advancement and professional growth

What are your thoughts?