Taking Teacher Quality Seriously
73 Pages Posted: 21 May 2016
Date Written: March 19, 2016
Although access to quality teachers is one of the most important aspects of a quality education, explicit concern with teacher quality too often has been conspicuously absent from past litigation over the right to education. Instead, past litigation has focused more on the broader question of funding. Though that litigation has narrowed gross funding gaps between schools in many states, it has not been enough to change what matters most: access to quality teachers.
This Article proposes that courts ensure access to quality teaching rather than the more amorphous right to adequate educational opportunities. The recent constitutional challenge to tenure suggests a theoretical step in this direction, but the focus on teacher tenure alone is misplaced. Eliminating tenure, without addressing more important fundamental challenges for the teaching profession, may just make matters worse. Thus, this Article argues for a broader intervention strategy that focuses on whether states equally distribute existing quality teachers and whether states take the various steps necessary to ensure the supply of quality teachers.
Keywords: quality teacher, quality education, equal education, adequate education, school funding
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation