Seizing the Opportunity at the Top: How the U.S. Can Reach Every Student with an Effective Teacher


American children deserve the one ingredient we know creates stellar learning results: excellent teachers, consistently. This brief explains why every child needs excellent teachers year after year; how schools can put excellent teachers in charge of more children’s learning while offering new roles to other teachers in which they, too, can be excellent; and what changes policymakers must support to make this possible: speedily improving the identification of excellent teachers, clearing the policy barriers—including inflexible budgets, human resource systems, and operational rules—that keep excellent teachers from reaching more students for more pay and drive those teachers out of instructional roles, and catalyzing the will for schools and districts to put excellent teachers in charge of every student’s learning. We propose bold solutions to create this will—including a new right to excellent teachers and strong financial incentives for excellent teachers to reach more students—and we invite others to add to these ideas.

Written by Emily Ayscue Hassel, Bryan C. Hassel

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