Welcome to the Profit of Education website. Continuing the conversation begun in the book Profit of Education, we discuss the latest economic evidence on education reform.

Teachers and SAT scores again

The discussion on “teacher quality” sometimes degenerates, coming off as if teachers are kinda dumb. Teachers are not dumb. In fact, their academic ability–as measured by SAT scores–looks pretty much like the ability of other college grads.

Here’s a table I made using Baccalaureate and Beyond data. It compares college graduates who have teaching jobs one year after graduation to other students employed the year after graduation. There’s just no difference. Teachers look like everyone else.

SAT teachers and others

Once we all agree that teachers look just as smart as other college grads, we can have a sensible discussion of whether that’s good enough. I don’t want a brain surgeon or economics professor who looks “just as smart as other college grads.” Brain surgery and economic modeling building require a lot more academic ability. I think teachers need–on average–more than the common run of academic ability

Now being a school teacher doesn’t require the same academic chops as being a brain surgeon, but school teachers do require more academic skills than many professions. Teachers also need to be well-endowed with people-smarts–something not measured by SAT scores.

We ought to be able to discuss getting better qualified teachers without somehow putting down the ones we already have.

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