Teaching Ranks in New York Improving, Study Shows

A study released late last year finds that new teachers are more academically capable than 15 years ago, when only 30 percent of new teachers in New York had SAT scores in the top third.

The most recent numbers have 40 percent of those teachers coming from the top third of SAT takers, according to “Who Enters Teaching? Encouraging Evidence that the Status of Teaching is Improving,” published in November 2014 by Hamilton Lankford of the University of Albany-SUNY, Susanna Loeb of Stanford University, Andrew McEachin of North Carolina State University, and Luke C. Miller and James Wyckoff of the University of Virginia.

The paper analyzed 25 years of data on the academic ability of teachers in New York State and reported that since 1999 the academic ability of both individuals certified and those entering teaching has steadily increased.

The gains are signals that the status of teaching may be improving, particularly among those making early career choices, the authors said.

There was more good news. The quality of teachers who teach in lower-income or high-minority schools is improving as well.

“We find broad-based improvements and, in particular, a substantial narrowing of the differences in average teacher academic ability between high- and low-poverty schools and between white and minority teachers,” the authors said.

While this report only covers New York State, the trend is expected to be comparable in other states because New York is a large, diverse state.

The authors find the numbers encouraging for the teaching profession as a whole.

“The reversal of the trends in academic ability over the last decade signals a resurgence of interest in teaching in public schools as a respected and worthy career and the rising status of the teaching profession,” the authors concluded.●