The Facts About...Good Teachers
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The Challenge: Nothing is more important to a child's success in school than finding well-prepared teachers. But millions of children do not have the benefit of a well-prepared teacher in their classrooms.

The Solution: Every state should have a well-prepared teacher in every classroom by the end of the 2005-2006 school year. A prepared teacher knows what to teach, how to teach and has command of the subject matter being taught.


President Bush recognizes the problem.

  • Just 41 percent of eighth-grade math teachers majored in math in college. That's 30 percentage points lower than the international average.
  • In English, one-fifth of all public school students in grades seven through twelve were taught by teachers who did not have at least a minor in English literature, communications or journalism.
  • In history and physical science, more than half of America's students are being taught by a teacher who has never studied the subject in any concentrated way.
  • That's more than four million students in physics, chemistry and history classes every day with teachers lacking preparation for teaching their subjects.

No Child Left Behind gives states and school districts the flexibility to find innovative ways to improve teacher quality, such as:

  • alternative ways of becoming a teacher, so that experienced professionals can become teachers faster;
  • merit pay authorization enabling states and districts to reward good teachers and encourage them to stay in the profession; and
  • authorization to states and districts to give bonuses to teachers in high-need subject areas like math and science to ensure that America remains competitive with the rest of the world in the 21st century.

We can't lock out Americans who step forward to help with the teacher crisis.

  • The president's budget supports the Troops to Teachers program to encourage men and women in the military, many with much-needed math and science experience, to take up teaching.
  • His budget calls for increases in the Transition to Teaching Program. This program helps recruit high-quality professionals to become teachers. It also encourages programs like Teach for America, which recruits many of our best college graduates.

We have to protect teachers so they can teach and maintain order. No Child Left Behind does that.

  • No Child Left Behind protects teachers, principals and other school professionals from harmful litigation when they take reasonable actions to maintain order and discipline in the classroom.

Supporting teachers means giving them the very best tools—the best research-based lessons and materials and the best training—to ensure that no child is left behind.

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Last Modified: 02/10/2004