Thursday, October 11, 2007

Must get better.

Must get better. Must get better. Must get better.

Challenges to Closing the Achievement Gap:
Lack of access to fully qualified teachers

Schools in high-poverty urban areas with large minority enrollments tend to have the least qualified and/or least experienced teachers (Ingersoll, 2002). The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning (CFTL) found that poor, high minority urban schools have less access to teachers with the appropriate qualifications than affluent, suburban schools. Such schools also have three times more uncertified teachers, are less likely to have teachers with graduate degrees, have larger class sizes, and are more likely to assign teachers to courses for which they have not been formally prepared (CTFL, 2003).

A study by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) produced similar findings:

* 26 percent of Latino eighth-graders had math teachers who lacked certification and at least a minor in math, compared to 17 percent of white students;
* 27 percent of Latino fourth-graders did not have the same teacher at the beginning and end of the year, compared to 18 percent of white children; and
* 25 percent of Latino 12th-graders experience teacher absenteeism every day, compared to 11 percent of white students (ETS, 2003).

Exacerbating the problem is the lack of teachers who are trained and certified to work with English language learners. Nationwide, less than 3 percent of teachers of English language learners have received formal preparation and certification to work with them. Only 27 percent of these teachers report feeling adequately prepared to teach these students (NCES, 2001; President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, 2000; Urban Institute, 2000).

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