Document Type

Policy Brief

Date of this Version



Behind the headlines about a looming and large teacher shortage lies another story, one that suggests the problem ought to be addressed within schools as much as by external solutions. The organization of schools and how teachers are used account for a great deal of the underqualified teaching in public schools. Most policy actions, however, stress improved recruitment, teacher training, and certification requirements as the best ways to assure qualified teaching in the nation’s schools.

This study focuses on one aspect of unequal distribution of quality teaching – out-of-field placement. In schools serving primarily low-income and/or minority students, out-of-field teaching is an acute problem and occurs even though the causes have little to do with the lack of certified teachers. Rather, school district policies and decisions made by school leadership often create inequalities in teaching quality within schools.



Date Posted: 29 June 2015