How the pandemic may improve teacher quality
The soaring unemployment rate because of the Covid-19 pandemic may improve teacher quality. That’s the conclusion we draw from our study of more than 30,000 Florida teachers and their students. That group included teachers who entered the profession between 1969 and 2009, a period that spanned six recessions.
Our research explores how a dearth of job opportunities in the broader economy affects teacher quality—a key question, as teachers affect student outcomes during school and well into adulthood. It is a timely question as well, since jobseekers are likely to outnumber openings for some time. That may benefit U.S. schools and students in the long run, as we’ve found that individuals who choose to enter the teaching profession during a recession are significantly more effective at raising test scores. Weaker job markets offer a window of opportunity to hire stronger teachers.