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ERIC Number: ED505035
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Pages: 73
Abstractor: ERIC
Fifty Years of Federal Teacher Policy: An Appraisal
Sykes, Gary; Dibner, Kenne
Center on Education Policy
Federal policy directed to teaching and teachers is the subject of this review, which is organized around: (1) recruitment; (2) training; (3) accountability; (4) incentives; (5) qualifications; (6) class size reduction; (teacher working conditions; and (8) human resource management and the overall coordination of teacher policy. For each theme, the authors describe past and current federal policy; assess the evidence on policy effects and effectiveness; and conclude with an overall appraisal. Recommendations for future federal teacher policy are provided. Reported observations include: (1) lack of policy research that might supply direction to ongoing policy investments; (2) teaching presents a number of fundamental problems that policy has yet to address successfully; (3) local conditions in schools and districts play a large role in the effectiveness of federal teacher policy; (4) federal teacher policy has accelerated and accumulated, especially over the last decade; and (5) federal policy may not be targeting fundamental issues. The authors advocate that the mission of federal teacher policy should be to enhance student access to teachers of high quality and to contribute to the steady improvement of teaching effectiveness by concentrating and coordinating initiatives around four goals: (1) attract and retain qualified teachers in high-need districts and schools; (2) attract and retain qualified teachers in critical shortage fields including math, science, special education, and foreign languages; (3) attract high-priority candidates to teaching, including those of high academic ability and teachers from the spectrum of minority groups; and (4) improve teacher and teaching effectiveness, including development of better measures and evaluation procedures. Two appendixes are included: (1) Policymaking and the Problems of Teaching; and (2) The Teacher Policy Divide. (Contains 8 notes.)
Center on Education Policy. 1001 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 522, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-822-8065; Fax: 202-822-6008; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center on Education Policy
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A