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What We Stand For: Teachers

Education Policies and Practices and the Quality of the Teacher Workforce

A White Paper by Dan Goldhaber from Stand for Children Leadership Center

The importance of teacher quality for student achievement is now a well-documented and widely cited fact. Decades-old research has been augmented by a tremendous amount of new empirical evidence showing that teacher effectiveness, as measured by impact on student learning, is the most important school-based factor when it comes to improving student achievement. When students have effective teachers, the results are dramatic—children with more effective teachers can gain up to a year’s worth of learning compared to peers with weaker teachers. While much of the literature on the value of teacher effectiveness measures teachers based on their impact on student test scores, new evidence suggests that teacher effectiveness also influences students’ later life outcomes, such as college-going behavior and earnings.

It is no surprise that the quality and distribution of the teacher workforce have moved to the forefront of education policy. This paper provides a brief overview of what is known about the teacher pipeline and about the type of college graduates who have historically entered the teaching profession. It also addresses the research on various ways to affect teacher quality: changing the makeup of the teacher workforce through recruitment, selection, and deselection policies; and improving the effectiveness of current teachers.

The rest of this paper is available as a PDF download:


Dan Goldhaber is the director of the Center for Education Data & Research at the University of Washington Bothell.

About Stand for Children Leadership Center

Stand for Children Leadership Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides leadership development and training to everyday citizens. Our mission is to ensure that all children, regardless of their background, graduate from high school prepared for, and with access to, college and career training. To make that happen, we:

  • Educate and empower parents, teachers, and community members to demand excellent public schools.
  • Advocate for effective local, state and national education policies and investments.

  • Ensure the policies and funding we advocate for reach classrooms and help students.

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Why Stand?

A message from Stand Leadership Center board member John Legend.