by Ricardo Castillo in

To help drive greater interest in the teaching profession among a diverse population of high-achieving students, ACT recommends the following:

Recruit high-achieving college students who are undecided about their future careers. 

Postsecondary institutions should focus on identifying high-achieving students who are undecided about their college majors and encourage them to consider pursuing the teaching profession. In particular, because ACT data indicate that relatively few minority students are interested in education as a career, recruitment efforts should target more minority students to enter the teaching pipeline. A more diverse teacher population may also lead to greater achievement among minority students. Research in the study “Representation in the Classroom: The Effect of Own-race Teachers on Student Achievement,” by Anna J. Egalite, Brian Kisida, and Marcus A. Winters shows that K–12 students—particularly African American and Asian American students—benefit from being taught by a teacher of the same race, while ACT data indicate
that few minority students are interested in education. 

Promote alternative pathways to teaching.

Teacher preparation programs play a critical role in developing quality teachers. However, given the expected need for more teachers than are currently available in certain areas and subjects, states and districts should remove barriers that prevent qualified individuals—such as mid-career professionals or recent talented college graduates—from entering the profession via alternative certification routes.

Improve educator benefits to attract and retain quality teachers.

Teachers are the most important school-based factor in a student’s achievement, so states and districts should advance policies that make the teaching profession more attractive. For example, beginning teacher salaries should be comparable to entry-level salaries for recent college graduates in other fields, and effective teaching should be supported and awarded over the number of years spent in the classroom. •