Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Can Teachers Really Teach?

New Study Shows Large Percentage Of Teachers Not Certified In Subject

LABELLE, FL. -- In America's secondary schools, low-income students and students of color are about twice as likely as other students to be enrolled in core academic classes taught by out-of-field teachers. Out-of-field teachers are those who possess neither certification in the subject they have been assigned to teach nor an academic major in that subject.

A new report by the Education Trust ( shows that in middle and high school mathematics, 4 in 10 classes in high-poverty schools are taught by an out-of-field teacher, compared with 16.9% in schools serving the fewest low-income students. In schools with high percentages of African-American and Latino students, nearly one-third of mathematics classes are taught by out-of-field teachers, compared with 15.5% in schools with relatively few minority students.

While out-of-field teaching is particularly acute in mathematics and in high-poverty and high-minority schools, the problem is pervasive. Nationwide, more than 17% of all core academic courses (English, math, social studies, and science) in grades 7-12 are taught by an out-of-field teacher. In the middle grades alone, the rate jumps to 40%.

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