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A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century

The Report of the Task Force on Teaching as a Profession, from the Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy

This report argues that if the United States is to have a vibrant democracy, avert the growth of a permanent underclass, and have a high-wage economy, schools must graduate the vast majority of students with achievement levels long thought possible only for a privileged few. In the face of an increasing demand for teachers, a declining supply of well-educated candidates and a particularly acute need for minority teachers, an integrated plan is presented for restructuring the schools and redefining teaching as a career that includes the following central components: raising the standards for teachers through the creation of a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards; strengthening their educational preparation by requiring a bachelors degree in the arts and sciences as a prerequisite for the professional study of teaching and by developing a new professional curriculum in graduate schools of education leading to a Master in Teaching degree; revamping their compensation system to make teacher salaries and career opportunities competitive with other professions; creating a professional environment for teaching that permits teachers to decide how best to meet state and local goals for children while holding them accountable for student progress; introducing a new category of Lead Teachers with proven ability to provide active leadership in the redesign of schools and in helping their colleagues uphold high standards of learning and teaching; and mobilizing the nation’s resources to prepare minority youngsters for teaching careers.