Teacher quality 2.0: Will today's reforms hold back tomorrow's schools?
About This Event

Event Summary

Teacher quality has long been a priority for education reformers, and new school models -- including virtual schools and digital advances -- are emerging that change the traditional role of the teacher.  At a three-panel AEI conference on Thursday, authors and discussants talked about the current reform agenda and how it might impede school transformation.

Bryan Hassel of Public Impact kicked off the discussion, exploring how several schools were rethinking and restructuring their operating models. For example, he referenced Rocketship Education's unique staffing models and its success as the top public-school system in California for low-income elementary-school students.

Billie Gastic of Relay Graduate School of Education then explained next-generation preparation programs that offer targeted teacher preparation based on a teacher's working environment. University of Southern California's Katharine Strunk presented her research on the limitations of current collective bargaining agreements to allow for reform, highlighting existing flexibility that has not yet been tapped. 

Panelists emphasized that research must anticipate change as well. Harvard University's Tom Kane reminded the audience that while studying teacher quality in different contexts is important, doing so will take time. Ultimately, policymakers and researchers must contend with whether teacher quality differs across settings, and if it does, whether it should. Overall, panelists concluded that reformers should start planning for the next generation of teachers, schools, and students -- in other words, for "teacher quality 2.0."
--Lauren Empson

Event Description

Today, there is substantial interest in revamping how America’s teachers are prepared, evaluated, paid, and supported, fueling changes to state laws and district policies nationwide. Such efforts have been championed by the Obama administration’s Race to the Top program, by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation investments, and by reform-minded governors.







Meanwhile, emerging school models, especially those employing technology, are using teachers in new ways. Yet few policymakers, researchers, or advocates have explored whether today’s “teacher quality” reforms might hinder such inventive approaches to teaching in the years ahead. This conference will convene leading education thinkers and doers to discuss a series of new papers and to explore how policy, practice, and research can better facilitate and support tomorrow’s schools.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


8:45 AM

9:00 AM
Opening Remarks:
Frederick M. Hess, AEI

9:10 AM
Panel I: New models of teaching: Insights from innovative schools
Michael DeArmond, Center on Reinventing Public Education
Bryan Hassel, Public Impact
Robert Maranto, University of Arkansas
Jonathan Plucker, University of Connecticut
Kate Walsh, National Council on Teacher Quality
Michael Q. McShane, AEI

10:45 AM

11:00 AM
Panel II: Preparation, professionalism, and contracts 2.0Panelists:
Segun Eubanks
, National Education Association
Billie Gastic
, Relay Graduate School of Education
Jal Mehta, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Katharine Strunk, University of Southern California
Daniel Weisberg, TNTP
Michael Q. McShane, AEI


1:15 PM
Panel III: Next generation measurement: The future of evaluation and research
Matthew Di Carlo, Albert Shanker Institute
Dan Goldhaber, University of Washington Bothell
Heather Harding, Education Consortium for Research and Evaluation at George Washington University
Thomas Kane, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Sara Mead, Bellwether Education Partners
Frederick M. Hess, AEI

2:50 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Taryn Hochleitner at Taryn.Hochleitner@aei.org, 202.862.5822.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact MediaServices@aei.org, 202.862.5829.

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AEI Participants


Frederick M.
  • An educator, political scientist and author, Frederick M. Hess studies K-12 and higher education issues. His books include "Cage-Busting Leadership," "Breakthrough Leadership in the Digital Age," "The Same Thing Over and Over," "Education Unbound," "Common Sense School Reform," "Revolution at the Margins," and "Spinning Wheels." He is also the author of the popular Education Week blog, "Rick Hess Straight Up." Hess's work has appeared in scholarly and popular outlets such as Teachers College Record, Harvard Education Review, Social Science Quarterly, Urban Affairs Review, American Politics Quarterly, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Phi Delta Kappan, Educational Leadership, U.S. News & World Report, National Affairs, the Washington Post, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic and National Review. He has edited widely cited volumes on the Common Core, the role of for-profits in education, education philanthropy, school costs and productivity, the impact of education research, and No Child Left Behind.  Hess serves as executive editor of Education Next, as lead faculty member for the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program, and on the review boards for the Broad Prize in Urban Education and the Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools. He also serves on the boards of directors of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and 4.0 SCHOOLS. A former high school social studies teacher, he teaches or has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, Rice University and Harvard University. He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Government, as well as an M.Ed. in Teaching and Curriculum, from Harvard University.

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  • Email: rhess@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Sarah DuPre
    Phone: 202-862-7160
    Email: Sarah.DuPre@aei.org


Michael Q.
  • Michael Q. McShane is a research fellow in education policy studies at AEI. He is the coeditor, with Frederick Hess, of "Common Core Meets Education Reform" (Teachers College Press, 2013). He is also the coauthor of "President Obama and Education Reform: The Personal and the Political" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2012). His analyses have been published widely in technical journals and reports including Education Finance and Policy. He has contributed to more popular publications such as Education Next, The Huffington Post, National Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He began his career as an inner-city high school teacher in Montgomery, Alabama.

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  • Phone: 202-862-5838
    Email: Michael.McShane@aei.org
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