When schools are held accountable for results and freed from red tape governing personnel decisions, they take advantage of their freedom by adopting innovative strategies for hiring and rewarding teachers, according to this new report by economists Michael Podgursky and Dale Ballou. This study is based on a survey administered to a random sample of 132 public charter schools that have been operating for at least three years.

Why does our system of teacher certification emphasize training in pedagogy rather than subject-matter knowledge? The answer can be found in this report, which traces the emergence of state control over teacher certification. The focus is on efforts by the teacher education establishment to gain monopoly control over the licensing of teachers.

This report explains how New Jersey has implemented high standards for teachers without causing a teacher shortage by creating an alternative certification program.

Most states are beginning to get serious about boosting the quality of their teaching force. Unfortunately, most of the steps they are taking point in the wrong direction. This "report card" contains plenty of evidence of that fact-together with some happy exceptions and hopeful signs.

According to this 250-page volume, proposed federal and state policies aimed at boosting teacher quality may well worsen the problem. Instead of adding even more regulation to the teacher training system, policymakers should open up the profession to well-educated individuals and should hold principals accountable for student learning.

A policy statement endorsed by governors, chief state school officers, state board members, prominent education thinkers and analysts, and veteran practitioners, which sets forth principles and policies to guide states as they prepare to hire a teaching force for the 21st century.