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Winter 2003 Vol. 11 No. 2 Focus on Improving Teacher Quality

Teacher quality gap persists across District

Photo: Harvey Finkle

Philadelphia continues to struggle with hiring and retaining adequate numbers of qualified teachers, particularly in high-poverty schools.

By by Beandrea Davis

"If you don't have a qualified teacher, you're not going to learn."

Debbie Russell Brown, of the community organizing group Pennsylvania ACORN, made this remark early this fall to a crowd of about twenty ACORN members and supporters standing in front of FitzSimons Middle School – notable for its 70 percent teacher turnover rate last year.

ACORN was there to raise awareness about inequities in how qualified teachers are distributed in the School District of Philadelphia.

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Hiring 'highly qualified' new teachers for Philadelphia

By by Paul Socolar

The School District of Philadelphia has expanded its teacher recruitment efforts, but will need to do more in order to meet federal requirements regarding "highly qualified" teachers.

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In other large districts, schools have more hiring authority

By by Whitney Meagher

Many school systems in large cities across the United States have a teacher hiring process that gives more control to principals and allows more interaction between schools and candidates than the process used in Philadelphia.

"Few districts across the country have a hiring and school assignment process as centralized as Philadelphia," wrote the authors of Once and For All, a report issued in September by the nonprofit group Research for Action on teacher hiring in Philadelphia.

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