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Closing the Teacher Quality Gap


"Schools and districts rarely have a fair distribution of teacher talent. Poor children and black children are less likely to be taught by the strongest teachers and more likely to be taught by the weakest. Several districts have implemented programs to reduce the teacher quality gap. Hamilton County, Tennessee, launched an initiative that included reconstituting several schools, creating a principal institute, implementing targeted professional development, and measuring student growth using value-added data. New York City launched the NYC Teaching Fellows program to attract accomplished professionals from education and other fields to become teachers. Some districts have established their own teacher residency programs modeled on medical residencies. To address the issue of teacher quality, schools need to look at their data, initiate a conversation about this topic in school, find out what would motivate the strongest teachers to teach in the most challenging schools, address within-school differences in teacher quality, use a multipronged strategy, and improve their data systems."