An Effective Teacher for Every Student

Developing a Research Agenda to Further Policy Change
Katharine Strunk
Michigan State University
Julie A. Marsh
University of Southern California
Paul Bruno
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign


In nearly every state across the country there has been recent legislative or judicial activity aimed at amending policies that shape the quality of the teacher labor force (e.g., Marianno, 2015). At the heart of this recent legislative and judicial action is the desire to attract and retain a high-quality teacher for every classroom. That good teachers are critical to student success is not up for debate; over the last decade, research has shown that a high-quality teacher is the most important school-based input into students’ achievement and long-term outcomes. Having a bad teacher rather than a good teacher for a single year can cost a student an entire year of learning gains (Hanushek, 1992; Hanushek & Rivkin, 2012). Moreover, recent research shows that students assigned to higher-quality teachers are also more likely to attend college, to attend higher-quality colleges, and to earn higher salaries than their peers who were assigned to lower-quality teachers. These benefits compound if students are consistently in classrooms with high-quality teachers throughout their schooling (see, for examples, Rivkin, Hanushek, & Kain (2005) and Chetty, Friedman, & Rockoff (2014)).
Suggested citationStrunk, K., Marsh, J., & Bruno, P. (2017, January). An effective teacher for every student: Developing a research agenda to further policy change [Report]. Policy Analysis for California Education.