The Nation’s Education Workforce Supply Chain Needs an Overhaul!

By Jon Saphier - November 25, 2014



Ten disconnected processes influence the knowledge and skills of the teachers and leaders we have today. These ten processes could instead operate collectively as a SYSTEM. This system could embed and integrate the range and complexity of professional knowledge about high expertise teaching, learning, and leading.

The workforce we have today, however, is exactly what the current fragmented pipeline is designed to produce — random pockets of high quality and large numbers of under-developed teachers and leaders, especially in schools serving our most disadvantaged students where high-expertise practice is most needed. We expect all students to achieve at proficiency, yet they are provided unequal teaching and leading expertise.

Legions of educators manage to function personally at a high professional level anyway, despite the ineffective human resource structure in which they operate. There are, however, many who don’t. We need to fix this system, not the people. Teacher evaluation and the emphasis on eliminating bad teachers is only 1/10th of the system.

State law, state policy, and local commitments from school boards have a significant influence on the operation of this human resource pipeline. Seven of the processes can be tackled at the district level with insight, ability, and will. But, good legislation and state policy could kick-start all ten of them. To dig deeper into this important topic, I recommend readers download a free copy of John Adams’ Promise.