Should teachers go to school?

(photo by dcJohn)

Ladue teachers are going back to school.

❝Ladue, one of the top-performing districts in the state, has recently told its teachers with bachelor's degrees that a master's degree "will be the new standard expected" within four years.❞ (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

The Post article basically says that the teachers aren’t going back to improve their teaching, as “study after study” shows that further education isn’t worth much. Then why would Ladue encourage their teachers to spend their time in class?

❝To the Ladue School District, it's worth their reputation, and the support of voters who may approve or deny tax increases.❞

That seems harsh. Maybe pragmatic?

I had noticed the Ladue outlier in a post on teacher salaries last spring.

I would like to drill deeper into the research on graduate studies since it seems so counter-intuitive to me as both a former teacher and as someone who has looked at a lot of numbers. I have a lot of questions.

Would the research differ if we factored in the type of degree and/or the challenge level?

❝I still see a lot of generalist master's programs that are pretty easy and painless for teachers to get through," Hausfather [dean of education at Maryville University] said. "It's still hard to push programs that push people. They just want to get a degree and a pay raise.❞ (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

❝They [Goldhaber and Brewer (1996) also found that, although advanced degrees in general were not associated with higher student achievement, an advanced degree that was specific to the subject area that a teacher taught was associated with higher achievement.❞ (Center for Public Education)

Would the research differ if we isolated certain age levels or certain subject areas?

❝Goldhaber and Brewer (1996) found that the presence of teachers with at least a major in their subject area was the most reliable predictor of student achievement scores in math and science.❞ (Center for Public Education)

What long-term effects does being perceived as more professional have on the teaching profession?

This seems to be the affect Ladue is going for. I’m not sure how it can be measured. Have they done surveys?