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Knowledge From the Field

Achieving Teacher and Principal Excellence: A Guidebook for Donors

Published: September 2008

Publisher(s): Philanthropy Roundtable

Author(s): Rotherham, Andrew J.

Funder(s): Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Challenge Foundation, Joyce Foundation

View Report (148 pages; 1.15MB; PDF)

Area of focus: Teacher Quality


This report summarizes multiple approaches for philanthropies to support principal and teacher development in U.S. schools. It addresses the challenge of improving education by focusing on increasing the quality of human capital, detailing specific avenues of reform, and citing examples of how some funders are approaching them. Common themes include recruitment, training, compensation, and assessment.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

= Attract new talent to education by building a talent pipeline and working to attract high-caliber candidates to teaching.

= Reform teacher and principal training through new initiatives to undergrad, graduate, and continuing education programs.

= Distribute educators where they are most needed, in schools and subject areas where improvements are needed like math and science.

= Restructure incentives to reward excellence, linking pay to performance.

= Invest in research and advocacy of the elements of successful teachers and principals.

= Public policy changes are necessary for most reforms to take hold.

Geographic Focus: National

Subjects/Keywords: Teacher quality; increasing teacher effectiveness; performance-based incentive; teacher retention; principals; leadership development; school reform

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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