Journal Issue: Excellence in the Classroom Volume 17 Number 1 Spring 2007
Because of their divergent histories, cultures, values, and economic situations, industrialized countries have developed a wide range of policies related to the supply of teachers. Although it is not possible to derive any simple policy lessons for the United States from this complicated mix, the international experience is useful for providing perspective on the U.S. situation and for generating potential strategies to deal with specific issues. These strategies, however, require more study and formal evaluation.
The clearest finding of this review is that salaries are quite low in the United States relative to those in other developed countries. Although this may well mean that higher salaries would be desirable, the evidence also shows no clear relationship across countries between teacher salaries and student achievement. Moreover, the review highlights the importance of looking beyond single policy levers in favor of broader policy packages. Higher salaries alone, for example, without attention to the nature of teacher preparation and certification, working conditions, the challenges facing new teachers, and the distribution of teachers across geographic areas, are unlikely to elicit the desired widespread improvements in student achievement.