American Educational Research Association

16th May 2003 at 01:00
Poor children in America are more likely to be taught by unqualified staff or teachers working outside their specialist subject area - and the situation has worsened in recent years, writes Karen Thornton. Their teachers are also much less likely to have advanced qualifications or to have trained at prestigious universities, researchers from Washington DC have confirmed.

In 1999-00, 13.6 per cent of teachers in high poverty schools were unqualified, compared to 8.9 per cent in low poverty schools. Ten years ago, one in 12 children was being taught by unqualified staff. By the end of the decade, the proportion was one in eight.

The study also showed that the number of secondary teachers taking lessons outside their specialist area nearly doubled during the 1990s. However, more teachers are now taking part in professional development programmes and participation rates in these poor schools are higher than average.

"Project on the next generation of teachers", the Harvard Graduate School of Education, contact"Teacher quality: current status and outlook, the bad, the good, and the uncertain", Jane Hannaway and Albert Yung-Hsu Liu, of the Urban Institute, Washington DC, and Yasser Nakib, of George Washington University, contact

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today