Educator quality

ATPE’s position on teacher quality issues

Educator quality has long been a cornerstone of ATPE’s advocacy efforts. Through scientific research and listening to the experiences of our own members, ATPE has confirmed the importance of educator quality and the need for lawmakers and policymakers to place greater emphasis on it.

ATPE-commissioned studies of teacher quality

In 2008, ATPE contracted with Dr. Ed Fuller, a noted researcher who has worked with education organizations across the state and nation, to study teacher quality and its impact on school improvement. ATPE hired Dr. Fuller to conduct a follow-up study in 2010 to examine the distribution of teacher quality throughout Texas and how it relates to student achievement.

The studies found that:
  • A direct correlation exists between teacher quality and student achievement, especially at the secondary level and in the areas of math and science.
  • Schools showing the highest level of improvement were the ones employing best practices cited in previous research—such as focusing on teacher recruitment and retention, providing the necessary financial resources, involving parents, and empowering teachers to make decisions.
  • Teacher quality is inequitably distributed across schools, with high-poverty, high-minority and low-performing schools having much lower teacher quality than low-poverty, low-minority and high-performing schools.
Differences in teacher quality across schools and districts in Texas are substantial. If the state is going to increase overall achievement and prepare a greater percentage of students to graduate from high school and be well-prepared for life after high school, it must address the inequitable distribution of teacher quality.

ATPE has offered legislators and policymakers at the state and federal levels a number of recommendations to accomplish this, including:
  • Raising entrance requirements for the education profession.
  • Collecting more data about teacher quality measures and working conditions in schools.
  • Using targeted monetary incentives to improve teacher quality and reduce inequities.
Download the entire 2008 study (2MB).
Read the 2010 study’s executive summary.
Download the entire 2010 study (4MB).

ATPE’s position on teacher quality issues

ATPE’s interest in educator quality is not about labeling teachers as “good” or “bad.” Rather, it is an acknowledgement of the fact that certain characteristics of teachers, such as level of experience and training, have been proven through research to have a direct impact on student learning.

Despite overwhelming evidence demonstrating the importance of educator quality measures, our legislators have too often ignored those factors, choosing instead to focus on accountability ratings and trying to use student test scores to identify effective teachers. It’s time for Texas and the nation to recognize that one of the best predictors of student success is access to a high-quality teacher—not student scores on standardized tests—and that we must prioritize funding and resources in order to improve and maintain educator quality. The key reforms needed are selectively recruiting, training, supporting, rewarding and retaining high-quality educators.

Questions? Send us a message or call the ATPE state office at (800) 777-2873.

This is legislative advertising contracted for by Dr. Shannon J. Holmes, Executive Director, Association of Texas Professional Educators, 305 E. Huntland Dr., Suite 300, Austin, TX 78752-3792, representing ATPE.