If research on teacher quality suggests that
certain characteristics tend to make teachers more effective, the reasonable
question is, What reforms can Michigan policymakers use to encourage teachers
with those characteristics to join and to remain in the teaching work force?
Under the current compensation system, experience and credentials are rewarded.
However, as shown in the previous section, the assumptions that these
characteristics are related to teacher effectiveness have generally been
rendered doubtful by academic research. If policymakers want to improve teacher
quality, they should consider policy solutions that will change the current
incentive structure and maximize teachers’ effectiveness in the classroom.
Specifically, policymakers need to think about
how to recruit new teachers who have a greater potential for success; encourage
the retention of teachers who have proven that they can raise student
achievement; weed out teachers who have been unable or unwilling to raise
student achievement; and motivate formerly effective teachers who are not
achieving their potential. In this section, I review and recommend
incentive-based policies to improve teacher quality. First, however, I examine
two often-discussed alternative educational reforms that operate on different