80th Annual Meeting

WHEREAS, in 2010 the US ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science, and 25th in mathematics among the 34 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries; and

WHEREAS, in 2008 the U.S. high school graduation rate was lower than the rates of the following OECD countries: United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Finland and Denmark; and

Whereas, in that same year the U.S. was the only developed nation where a higher percent of 55- to 64-year-olds than 25- to 34-year-olds had graduated from high school; and

WHEREAS, increasing student achievement, graduation and college completion rates can result in economic benefits including increases in individual earnings; home sales; job growth; spending and investment; and tax revenues; and

WHEREAS, though there are a number of factors that influence student success, the quality of an education system is dependent on the quality of its teachers; and

WHEREAS, the world’s top performing school systems recruit 100 percent of their teacher corps from the top third of college graduates; and

WHEREAS, in the U.S .only 23 percent of new teachers come from the top third, and just 14 percent  of teachers in high poverty schools come from the top third; and

WHEREAS, though some schools of education in the U.S. offer rigorous training, many are still held in low regard, while more than half of teachers are trained in colleges with low admissions standards, accepting nearly any high school graduate that applies; and

WHEREAS, the number of new teacher hires in public schools is projected to increase 12 percent to 350,000 in 2020; and

WHEREAS, the average earnings for workers in the U.S. with college degrees are 50 percent higher than average teachers’ salaries; and

WHEREAS, research suggests that improving compensation, working conditions and professional prestige could attract a higher percentage of the top college students into the profession;

WHEREAS, President Obama’s Project RESPECT outlines similar challenges and strategies for addressing teacher talent needs in the U.S.;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports the development of a strategic and systematic approach to attract, retain and ensure the efficacy of the most talented educators; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports the following policy priorities:

  • Establish more selective, applied, and rigorous standards for schools of education to ensure that top quality candidates are attracted to the profession.

  • Create new pipelines to the profession via high-quality alternative certification programs.

  • Work to identify and improve working conditions and leadership opportunities that attract and retain top talent to remain in the classroom, where they are needed most.

  • Increase starting salaries and dramatically increase potential earnings for teachers and principals, to reflect importance of the profession.

  • Create career and leadership opportunities that value success in the classroom as highly as success in management and administration.

  • Focus initial efforts on recruiting top talent to the highest-need districts and schools.