Report Finds Students and High Stakes: Little Gain Seen Without a Stronger...

Report Finds Students and High Stakes: Little Gain Seen Without a Stronger Teaching Force

Teachers key to ensuring state meets no child left behind targets The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning calls for increased emphasis on teacher quality and effectiveness


SHARE THIS ARTICLE

Sacramento, CA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–December 6, 2006–Poor student achievement, particularly among Latino and African American students, makes it highly unlikely that California will be able to meet state and federal education requirements for student proficiency, according to a new report released today by the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning.

“While there has been some improvement in achievement over the past few years, the gap between where students are and where they need to be is alarmingly large,” said Margaret Gaston, Executive Director of The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning. “California’s kids can’t get there without a continuing effort to build a high quality teaching workforce with the capacity and resources to improve student achievement.”

California’s Teaching Force 2006: Key Issues and Trends finds the state falling far short of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) goal of 100% of students being proficient in mathematics and English by 2013-14. Less than half of all students were able to demonstrate proficiency on state tests in 2006, and about one-third of schools did not meet federal requirements for Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) as required by NCLB. African American and Latino students have an even greater distance to go to meet the high academic standards the state has set for them. The gap between these students and their white and Asian peers is actually increasing.

“Student achievement trends strongly suggest that California is not going to meet the proficiency requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind legislation,” said Patrick Shields, Director of the Center for Education Policy at SRI International and the principal researcher for the report. “Given the incredible hurdles the state faces in improving student achievement, there is an urgent need for highly trained and effective teachers. Meeting that challenge will require not only an increased focus on the quantity and qualifications of teachers, but on the quality of teaching.”

One place to start would be with an intensified effort to strengthen science and mathematics teaching for those already in the classroom. Only 38 percent of eighth grade students in California scored at proficient levels or above on state science tests, with wide disparities in achievement between African American and Latino students and their white and Asian peers. Achievement in mathematics is similarly poor, with 23 percent of secondary students demonstrating proficiency or above on the California Standards Test for Algebra I. Again, African American and Latino students have further to go to meet state standards. California also lacks a sufficient number of mathematics and science teachers, with the least prepared and experienced mathematics and science teachers concentrated in low-achieving schools serving poor and minority students.

The report also cautions state policymakers that the teacher shortage is far from over, warning that a drop in the production of credentials and declining enrollment in teacher preparation programs are warning signs worth watching in the face of escalating teacher retirements. Additionally, certain regions of the state — such as California’s Central Valley — are already experiencing shortages of fully prepared teachers, and high enrollment growth in those regions may only exacerbate the problem.

“As we issue this report, we want to give full credit to the Governor and members of the Legislature for the progress that was made during the last legislative session to strengthen the teacher workforce,” concludes Gaston. “But low student achievement and demanding requirements for improvement set a high bar for the state. Hitting the mark will require a continuing effort to strengthen the teacher development system to get highly skilled teachers where we need them the most.”

California’s Teaching Force 2006: Key Issues and Trends is the latest in a series of annual reports on the status of the teaching profession presented by The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning with research conducted by SRI International. The report provides the latest available data and analysis of California’s teaching workforce. The full report and summary materials are available on the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning website at http://www.cftl.org. Print versions of the report are also available. For additional information contact the Center at (831) 427-3628 or by email at info@cftl.org.

Report Finds Students and High Stakes: Little Gain Seen Without a Stronger Teaching Force