Top Students Are Not Attracted to Teaching

It may not come as a surprise to you that we are not attracting and retaining the top talent in our schools to become teachers.

"Efforts to help US schools become more effective generally focus on improving the skills of current teachers or keeping the best and ejecting the least effective ones. The issue of who should actually become teachers has received comparatively little attention. Yet the world’s top-performing systems—in Finland, Singapore, and South Korea—recruit 100 percent of their teaching corps from students in the top third of their classes."

That quote is from the McKinsey survey of nearly 1,500 top-third US college students. It confirms that a major effort would be needed to attract them to teaching. For example, among top-third students not planning to enter the profession, 33 percent believe that they would be able to support a family if they did.

You can see a graph of the survey results at


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