Who Enters Teaching? Encouraging Evidence that the Status of Teaching is Improving


Hamilton Lankford


Susanna Loeb


Andrew McEachin


Luke C. Miller


James Wyckoff

Year of Publication: 
Educational Researcher

The relatively low status of teaching as a profession is often given as a factor contributing to the difficulty of recruiting teachers, the middling performance of American students on international assessments, and the well-documented decline in the relative academic ability of teachers through the 1990s. Since the turn of the 21st century, however, a number of federal, state, and local teacher accountability policies have been implemented toward improving teacher quality over the objections of some who argue the policies will decrease quality. In this paper we analyze 25 years of data on the academic ability of teachers in New York State and document that since 1999 the academic ability of both individuals certified and those entering teaching has steadily increased. These gains are widespread and have resulted in a substantial narrowing of the differences in teacher academic ability between high and low poverty schools and between white and minority teachers. We interpret these gains as evidence that the status of teaching is improving.

Education Level:

APA Citation

Lankford, H., Loeb, S., McEachin, A., Miller, L.C., & Wyckoff, J. (2014). Who Enters Teaching? Encouraging Evidence that the Status of Teaching is Improving. Educational Researcher, 43(9), 444-453.

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