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.
Perhaps 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.
Mission accomplished? No. Good progress? Absolutely.