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.

Who Enters Teaching?

A bit over a year ago I wrote about work done by Dan Goldhaber and Joe Walch that showed nation-wide evidence of improving teacher ability. New results from “Who Enters Teaching?,” by Lankford, Loeb, McEachin, Miller, and Wyckoff, offers similar good news based on teachers entering the profession in New York State.

Look at the following figure prepared by the authors. What’s really changed over the last couple of decades is that a much higher fraction of teachers come from the top third of the academic skill distribution (as measured by SAT scores.) After a long drought in which less than a third of teachers came from the top third of the SAT distribution, the fraction has now risen above 40 percent.

Lankford et al 1Perhaps even more interesting than the overall improvement in teachers’ academic chops is the notable decline in the tendency of high-scoring teachers to go to wealthy schools and low-scoring teachers to go to the poorest areas.

Lankford et al 2

Mission accomplished? No. Good progress? Absolutely.

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2 Responses to Who Enters Teaching?

  1. As for the last, it’s probably loan forgiveness.

    I’ve been pointing this out for over three years, now. It’s probably less about “more higher scoring teachers” than it is “fewer low scoring teachers” because in 2002, the tests got harder. We have been consistently chopping off the bottom. Of course, there’s no evidence that this improves student outcomes.

    But “smarter teachers=smarter students”, like “stricter gun laws=less crime” and “tougher drug bans=fewer addicts”, is just a truism that people apparently need more time to figure out.

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