Panel: Teacher Labor Market Reforms and the Teacher Pipeline

Friday, November 3, 2017: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Stetson E (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Joshua Cowen, Michigan State University
Panel Chairs:  James H Wyckoff, University of Virginia
Discussants:  Matthew P. Steinberg, University of Pennsylvania and Lauren Sartain, University of Chicago

Did Policy Change Block the Teacher Pipeline? Evidence on the Impact of Labor Market Reforms in Michigan
Joshua Cowen1, Eric Brunner2, Katharine O. Strunk3 and Steven Drake1, (1)Michigan State University, (2)University of Connecticut, (3)University of Southern California

Teacher Accountability Reforms and the Supply of New Teachers
Matthew Kraft1, Shaun M Dougherty2, Eric Brunner2 and David Schwegman3, (1)Brown University, (2)University of Connecticut, (3)Syracuse University

The Effects of Differential Pay on Teacher Recruitment and Teacher Quality
Carycruz Bueno and Tim Sass, Georgia State University

Since 2009, states and districts across the country have implemented substantial changes to teacher labor markets. Most widespread have been new systems of teacher evaluation based on student outcomes, but many reforms also include new restrictions on or even the elimination of tenure, reductions on collective bargaining protections, and new limits on union membership. Other reforms include changes to teacher licensure policies and career pathways and teacher compensation, the latter including not only differential salary programs but also changes to teacher pension systems. Although policymakers and advocates of these reforms have argued that such changes will promote a more effective teacher workforce, critics have worried that they may drive effective teachers from the classroom and dis-incentivize potential new, high-quality teachers from taking their place. To date, however, conjecture on these results has far outpaced rigorous evidence.

 With special attention to the reform effects on the new teacher pipeline, the papers in this panel begin to substantially close this gap. Drawing on data from national, state and district-specific contexts, each study examines a particular aspect of teacher-related reform, from tenure and evaluation to changes in teacher recruitment, and focuses on the impacts of that policy change on potential and early-career teachers.

 The first study, by Kraft, Dougherty, Brunner and Schwegman, draws on a unique state-by-year panel of data from 2002 through 2015. This study leverages variation in the timing of each state’s reform to estimate difference-in-difference models of tenure and evaluation policy impacts on rates of teacher licensure across the country. The second study, by Cowen, Brunner, Strunk and Drake, focuses on tenure, evaluation and collective bargaining policy changes in Michigan, and employs student-level data from 2005 through 2015. Linking Michigan high school student records to those with the National Student Clearinghouse, the paper estimates reform effects on the quality of new teachers (i.e. education majors) relative to comparison groups of nursing, accounting and psychology majors as measured by high school state standardized exam and ACT scores.  A paper by Bueno and Sass considers the impacts of Georgia’s differential pay system for math and science teachers on the rates of education major completion in those fields, placement of those new math and science teachers in Georgia public schools, and indicators of new teacher quality.  Finally, a fourth paper by Loeb and Rochmes examines district-level reform intended to widen the teacher pipeline. This change created a new pathway into teaching by recruiting paraprofessionals already active in the community to serve hard-to-staff schools and subject areas.

The results of all four papers collectively provide new evidence concerning state and district-level reforms on teacher development and recruitment. Authors of these papers are distributed across seven research universities, all career stages (graduate student through senior faculty) and several major academic disciplines including economics, political science and educational administration.  

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