With teacher-tenure laws under scrutiny in California and contentious in plenty of other places, three human-resources experts make the case for avoiding hiring bad teachers in the first place rather than struggling to fire them after they prove to be ineffective. This best-practices guide for school or district hiring teams contends that a well-researched, systematic, standardized hiring process will yield a better instructional staff, and it offers guidelines for administrators to design their own hiring systems. It also outlines common problems with a number of specific selection criteria—interviews, application forms, rating systems, and more. Some skills and methods, the authors demonstrate, prove to correlate with successful teaching: Having an extroverted personality, for example, has a weak correlation to job performance (0.09) as compared to situational interviews, which correlate strongly (0.43). A fair and well-researched hiring system is an investment that reaps significant rewards in improved student achievement, reduced legal fees, and stronger teacher quality. Unfortunately, the book just skims the surface of this important topic.

Dale S. Rose, Andrew English, and Treena Gillespie Finney, Hire Better Teachers Now: Using the Science of Selection to Find the Best Teachers for Your School (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press, February 2014).

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