Teacher qualifications more equally distributed across New York City public schools

November 06, 2008

Charlottesville, VA - November 5, 2008 -Recent changes - including new laws and new routes into teaching with lowered cost for individuals to enter the profession - have dramatically changed the characteristics of teachers, particularly in large urban districts. A new study in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management explores how these changes affect who enters teaching and where they teach in large urban districts. Results show that teacher qualifications are much more equally distributed across New York City public schools now than they were previously.

The study found that teacher qualifications are more equally distributed across New York City public schools in 2005 than they were in 2000. Similarly, schools with disproportionate numbers of poor students and students of color have teachers whose qualifications are much stronger than they were five years ago.

The researchers contend that this outcome largely results from policy changes in New York state and New York City that dramatically altered the qualifications of new teachers. These changes in the qualifications account for a modest improvement in the average math achievement of students in the poorest elementary schools.

The results also suggest that recruiting teachers with stronger observed qualifications, i.e. high math SAT scores or those who are certified could substantially improve student math achievement.

"Recruiting more qualified teachers should be a part of a more general strategy to improve the quality of classroom teaching," the authors conclude.

Donald Boyd, Hamilton Lankford, Susanna Loeb, Jonah Rockoff, and James Wyckoff analyzed administrative data from the New York City Department of Education, the New York State Education Department, alternatively certified teacher programs, and the College Board.
This study is published in the Fall 2008 issue of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact journalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net.

James Wyckoff is affiliated with the University of Virginia and can be reached for questions at wyckoff@virginia.edu.

The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management encompasses issues and practices in policy analysis and public management. Listed among the contributors are economists, public managers, and operations researchers. Featured regularly are book reviews and a department devoted to discussing ideas and issues of importance to practitioners, researchers, and academics.

Wiley-Blackwell was formed in February 2007 as a result of the acquisition of Blackwell Publishing Ltd. by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and its merger with Wiley's Scientific, Technical, and Medical business. Together, the companies have created a global publishing business with deep strength in every major academic and professional field. Wiley-Blackwell publishes approximately 1,400 scholarly peer-reviewed journals and an extensive collection of books with global appeal. For more information on Wiley-Blackwell, please visit www.wiley-blackwell.com or http://interscience.wiley.com.


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