New Report Offers Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining Excellent Teachers

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Career advancement vital to enhancing the profession, says Pearson and National Network of State Teachers of the Year.

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Maintaining the most motivated, highly qualified teachers is an ongoing challenge for America’s schools. The top 20 percent of teachers end up leaving their schools due to neglect and inattention, according to The New Teacher Project. But, a new report “Creating Sustainable Teacher Career Pathways: A 21st Century Imperative” released today outlines strategies for making teaching an attractive, challenging profession with career advancement.

The report, jointly issued by Pearson’s Research & Innovation Network and National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY), describes recent initiatives at the local, state and national level that promote teacher career advancement.

“Teaching has been called the flat profession—one in which the main opportunity for career advancement is for teachers to leave the classroom to enter administration,” said Katherine Bassett, Executive Director and CEO at NNSTOY. “By establishing true career continuums for teachers, we can create the conditions that will further student learning and increase the effectiveness of all teachers while increasing teacher retention.”

Pearson and NNSTOY’s report includes a state-by-state analysis of current and proposed approaches for promoting teacher leadership and a look at career trajectories for other professions such as nursing, architecture and engineering.

“The teaching profession should recognize and reward expertise by following the lead of other professions and countries,” says Dr. Kathy McKnight, Principal Director of Research, Center for Educator Effectiveness at Pearson. “Creating diverse and flexible career options as well as linking compensation to expertise, performance and responsibilities holds promise for improving recruitment and retention of talented educators.”

With half of the nation’s teachers planning to retire over the next decade, the report focuses on identifying practices that make teaching a more attractive option for a generation that expects flexibility in the workplace, collaborative work structures, differentiated roles and compensation systems that recognize performance and differing levels of responsibility.

State- and national-level recommendations include:

  • advocate for federal and state legislation and grant programs that support new school staffing structures and leadership roles for teachers;
  • implement state-level guidelines for standards-based assessment and teacher evaluation systems that create the groundwork for differentiated career paths and compensation systems; and
  • develop and disseminate model teacher career continuums with input from excellent teachers as well as other stakeholders in the design, implementation, communication and refinement of the model.

Recommendations for the local level include:

  • re-examine district human resource policies to see if they are recruiting teachers who are high academic achievers;
  • take advantage of technology in extending the reach of highly effective teachers; and
  • re-think the one teacher/one classroom organization of schools to facilitate new staffing structures that differentiate roles of teachers and extend the reach of highly effective teachers.

Download the full report at and

The National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) is a non-profit organization serving as a professional home to State Teachers of the Year (STOYs) in what we call their years of service, following their Year of Recognition when they serve as their State Teacher of the Year. Our focus is on providing active and meaningful roles for our members, in furthering great teaching and strengthening student learning. We do this through three critical vehicles: policy, practice, and advocacy. You can find us on the web at:

About Pearson’s Research & Innovation Network
To help address the most pressing questions facing teachers and students, Pearson brought together top education experts in the Research & Innovation Network with the mission to research and invent capabilities and tools educators need to create engaging, meaningful, and personalized learning that leads to student and educator success. The Research & Innovation Network is led by Dr. Kimberly O’Malley, Senior Vice President of Research and Development, and supports five centers: the Center for Digital Data, Analytics & Adaptive Learning; the Center for College & Career Success; the Center for NextGen Learning & Assessment; the Center for Online Learning; and the Center for Educator Effectiveness. For more information, visit:

About Pearson
Pearson is the world’s leading learning company, providing educational materials and services and business information through the Financial Times Group. Pearson serves learners of all ages around the globe, employing 41,000 people in more than 70 countries. For more information about Pearson, visit

Susan Aspey, susan(dot)aspey(at)pearson(dot)com

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