Journal Issue: Excellence in the Classroom Volume 17 Number 1 Spring 2007
Despite differences in their histories, cultures, and economies, all industrialized countries face the challenge of how to ensure a supply of high-quality teachers sufficient to meet demand. The demand for teachers differs from one country to the next primarily because of differences in the number of school-age children and in politically determined pupilteacher ratios. Demand also varies with the ambitiousness of a country’s educational aspirations. My focus in this article, however, is not on differences in demand but rather on the policies that countries use to affect the supply of teachers—namely, the level and structure of teacher salaries, financial incentives to recruit teachers to areas of shortage, and entry requirements into the teaching profession. For simplicity I define industrialized countries as the thirty member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and draw heavily on a recent major OECD study of teacher recruitment and development.1 Although this analysis generates no simple policy lessons for the United States, it does provide perspective on a variety of matters, including the fact that the United States pays its teachers less generously than many other industrialized countries.