Evaluating the Evidence on Teacher Certification: A Rejoinder
In "Does Teacher Certification Matter? Evaluating the Evidence" (appearing in this issue of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis), Linda Darling-Hammond, Barnett Berry, and Amy Thoreson, comment on the authors' earlier piece, "Does Teacher Certification Matter? High School Teacher Certification Status and Student Achievement" (Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Summer 2000). Unfortunately, the Darling-Hammond et al. piece does not accurately portray the authors' original article, which is one of the first studies of effects of teacher certification on student achievement that uses a national student level dataset in a multivariate framework. Here the authors' discuss the portrayal of our paper, and argue that there are important policy questions about certification, and the teacher labor market in general, that ought to be addressed by researchers in a dispassionate way that focuses on rigorous, high quality empirical findings. As yet the authors' do not believe there is enough information to draw strong conclusions about the impacts of certification on the teacher applicant pool or about the overall level of quality of the teacher workforce. Thus, it is important to ask questions about these issues so that research can be used to guide the development of sound public policy.