By many measures, the United States trails its neighbor to the north in overall performance and equity in student learning.
What can America do to catch up? The University of Washington’s Ken Zeichner, Boeing professor of teacher education, seeks to answer that question in two new books stemming from a worldwide study of policies and practices that advance teaching quality.
Zeichner is co-author of “Empowered Educators in Canada: How High-Performing Systems Shape Teaching Quality” and a contributor to “Empowered Educators: How High-Performing Systems Shape Teaching Quality Around the World,” both now available from Wiley.
Zeichner spent more than two years investigating teaching and teacher education in Alberta with UW doctoral students Jesslyn Hollar and Shane Pisani. He noted that teachers in Canada enjoy a higher level of respect—and pay—than their counterparts in the U.S.
“When you value public education as a public good and treat and compensate teachers as professionals, good things happen,” Zeichner said.
At the same time, education policies alone aren’t enough to ensure students will achieve at a high level.
“The social and economic policies that Alberta has put into place to provide the social preconditions for learning—for example, access to high quality health care and early childhood care, valuing language diversity and immigrants—are just as important as education policies,” Zeichner said. “In the U.S., we continue to look for a magic bullet program or policies in education that will fix our equity problems while stripping resources from our public services. What we do in classrooms and schools matters, but so do the social and economic policies.”
The books, written for policymakers, teachers, teacher educators and others interested in education, offer insight into factors that shape the teaching force and the work of teachers. They delve into strategies for teacher recruitment, preparation, induction and mentoring, professional learning, career and leadership development, and other areas that impact teaching quality.
Ken Zeichner, Boeing Professor of Teacher Education
Dustin Wunderlich, Director of Marketing and Communications