December 8, 2015

William J. Mathis, (802) 383-0058,
Daniel J. Quinn, (517) 203-2940,

Second concise brief considers deprofessionalization of teaching

EAST LANSING, MI (Dec. 8, 2015) – A new concise brief released today describes the forces driving teacher deprofessionalization and the resulting easy-entry, easy-exit approach to the hiring and firing of teachers. It also offers policy options to address some of the damage currently being done.

As a part of a new series of briefs released by the National Education Policy Center with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, William J. Mathis and Kevin Welner, University of Colorado Boulder, discuss three forces impacting teachers: (a) alternative (fast-track or no-track) teacher preparation and licensure; (b) teacher evaluation approaches that are largely focused on students' test scores; and (c) scripted, narrow curriculum that can be constricting and demoralizing for high-quality teachers.

In Reversing the Deprofessionalization of Teaching, Mathis and Welner describe the impact of teacher-level reforms and offer a path to restoring teaching as a profession.

The authors make five recommendations for policymakers:

  1. Strengthening teacher education programs, with increased focus on developing pedagogical content knowledge and expertise;
  2. State education agencies should not recognize or approve teacher education programs or accreditation agencies that fail to provide a full teacher preparation program with appropriate field experience;
  3. Teacher evaluations should also be strengthened, making use of established approaches, such as peer assistance and review;
  4. A moratorium should be placed on test-based policies such as value-added teacher assessment; and
  5. A broadening of the curriculum, with a partial or complete decoupling of test scores from high-stakes consequences.

This is the second part of Research-Based Options for Education Policymaking, a multipart brief that takes up a number of important policy issues and identifies policies supported by research. Each section focuses on a different issue, and its recommendations to policymakers are based on the latest scholarship. This brief updates the research from a previous policy brief by Professor Richard Milner, the Helen Faison Endowed Chair of Urban Education at the University of Pittsburgh.

Find the brief on the GLC website:

This concise brief is published by the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder, and is made possible in part by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

This brief is also found on the NEPC website at:

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The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

Visit the Great Lakes Center website at