Teaching matters. Research evidence is persuasive that students benefit from high quality instruction, and that for students who have had good teachers several years in a row, the effect is cumulative. There are many out-standing teachers among the 3.7 million working in America’s public schools. However, not enough teach-ers are effective, especially in the schools that serve large numbers of poor and minority children. Labeling teachers as “highly qualified” because they have earned a degree or completed a training program does not in fact make them highly qualified. Instead, as a nation we need policies and programs that bring aca-demically talented and diverse recruits into teaching and help them to succeed. And, we need policies and programs to retain and reward effective early career teachers.