chapter  15
Teacher Quality and Eff ectiveness in an Era of Accountability: Challenges and Solutions in Special Education?
ByMary T. Brownell, Bonnie S. Billingsley, James McLeskey, Paul T. Sindelar
Pages 21

Quality teachers are considered one of the most important resources for improving student achievement in schools. Over the past decade or so, researchers have demonstrated repeatedly, using value-added growth modeling, the contribution that teachers make to the achievement of students (Hanushek, Rivkin, & Kain, 2005; Kane, Rockoff , & Staiger, 2008). Next to students themselves, teachers produce the largest eff ect on student achievement in the educational system. As a result, many federal and state initiatives have emerged over the last decade whose main intention is to support strategies for securing and developing quality teachers (e.g., The Reading First Initiative, Teacher Quality Enhancement Grants). These initiatives have had a profound impact on both the initial preparation and on going professional development of teachers in general and special education. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) acknowledged research demonstrating the role that content knowledge played in eff ective instruction by insisting that all teachers have the necessary subject matter knowledge they need to teach to be designated as highly qualifi ed. Additionally, both pieces of legislation recognize the important role that professional development and induction of beginning teachers play in helping teachers to provide evidence-based instruction. The Reading First Program, President George W. Bush’s signature program funded under NCLB, is the best example of a comprehensive professional development eff ort to improve the quality of teachers’ reading instruction that has ever been undertaken by the federal government.