Children of Poverty Report: Teacher Quality

Children of Poverty Report Addresses The Importance of Teacher Quality


Throughout Florida, hundreds of thousands of dedicated, hardworking teachers spend each day proving their committment to students by providing the best possible education to students from some of our most poverty-stricken communities.


These heroes and heroines perform amazing tasks, often with the least amount of support and resources.

Unfortunately, despite their intense commitment, too many students do not enjoy the benefits of a great public school, because their schools are often chronically under-funded, under-staffed, and unsupported. This is simply unacceptable.


The data are clear: a child’s learning environment is a critical factor in his or her long-term success.

We all need to do more to support not only our students, but the teachers who show up every day, despite the odds.

The “Children of Poverty” report presents solid, proven strategies and policy recommendations for our nation's public schools that can make a difference by offering solutions to recruiting, preparing, supporting, and compensating teachers for high-needs schools and highlights NEA’s commitments to ensure great teachers are in every classroom.

The report describes four strategies that will move us past the usual “either/or” thinking about the future of teaching toward research-driven policies that can transform every high-poverty school in America into a high-performing school, fully staffed by effective teachers.

  • Recruit and prepare teachers for work in high-needs schools.
  • Take a comprehensive approach to teacher incentives. Lessons from the private sector and voices of teachers indicate that performance pay makes the most difference when it focuses on “building a collaborative workplace culture” to improve practices and outcomes.
  • Improve the right working conditions. We need to fully identify the school conditions most likely to serve students by attracting, developing, retaining and inspiring effective and accomplished teachers.
  • Define teacher effectiveness broadly, in terms of student learning. We need new evaluation tools and processes to measure how teachers think about their practice, as well as help students learn.


  • Districts should use ARRA funds, Teacher Incentive Fund grants and other resources to recruit and prepare new teachers and to improve the effectiveness of current teachers in high-needs schools.
  • Effective strategies to recruit and prepare new teachers include the following:

  1. Launch a long-range campaign to recruit and prepare teachers for urban and rural high-needs schools by offering high-quality residency programs, recruiting 20,000 to 40,000 new educators per year for 10 to 20 years. These well-trained, well-supported recruits will be prepared to lead a 21st century teaching profession that works closely with the heath care and community services needed by students in high-needs schools.
  2. Cultivate effective teachers from within the 5,000 schools targeted as highest need, “growing” National Board Certified Teachers in those schools.
  3. Develop compensation systems, including performance pay systems, that include financial incentives designed specifically to attract and retain, as well as grow effective teachers in high-needs schools.
  4. Work with teachers and teacher associations to: (1) transform teacher assessment and evaluation systems into effective instruments for helping teachers to improve their practice; and (2) integrate these systems into individualized professional development programs based on the needs of teachers and students.


Read the report


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