Monday | December 7, 2015

Event Overview

Americans generally believe in the importance of teachers and the quality of teaching in U.S. public schools, according to a recent PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes toward the Public Schools,” but think that improvements should still be made.

Indeed, 94 percent of U.S. adults say that teacher quality is “very important” to the improvement of schools and 62 percent of public school parents say they trust and have confidence in the teachers who are already in the classroom. In terms of raising the quality of the teaching force, about half of Americans believe that high-achieving high school students should be recruited to enter teacher training and a majority of respondents say that teachers’ salaries are too low, another factor with an influence on recruitment. Americans also support higher standards for those entering the teaching force, with three-quarters saying that, as with medicine and law, the teaching profession should require entrants to pass board certification, in addition to earning a degree. A majority (55 percent) of Americans, however, oppose the use of student test scores as a measure of teaching quality.

This two-panel conversation focused on these results and their implications for policy and practice, taking on the question of how government, schools of education, school districts and schools can promote, nurture and support quality teaching.


Panel I


Joshua Starr, Chief Executive Officer, PDK International

Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers and Albert Shanker Institute

Dan Weisberg, Chief Executive Officer, The New Teacher Project


Stephen Sawchuk, Associate Editor, Ed Week

Panel II


James T. Jackson, Associate professor and coordinator of special education; former chair, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Howard University School of Education

Monifa McKnight, Maryland Middle School Principal of the Year; principal, Ridgeview Middle School, Montgomery County Public Schools

Joseph Vincente, 10th Grade chemistry teacher and science team leader, East Side Community High School, New York, NY


Rob Weil, Director of Field Programs, Educational Issues, American Federation of Teachers