About 80 percent of education spending is devoted to personnel, yet the capacity of schools and districts to recruit, develop, and retain top talent is stunningly low compared with other knowledge sectors. This problem is most profoundly felt in urban school systems, which creates tremendous inequity for the students who most need a high-quality education. Research findings make it clear that human capital is one of the most important levers we have for improving school effectiveness and student achievement. However, educators, district leaders, and policy makers are just beginning to recognize that strengthening human capital should be their top priority-and to act on that recognition. Teaching Talent presents a framework for human capital development that draws on a two-year initiative by the Aspen Institute Education and Society Program to research sectors that have effective, well-developed human capital systems and point the way toward human capital innovations in public education. The book first identifies the elements of a robust human capital strategy in education-teacher recruitment and career development; the principal's role in ensuring teacher quality; and the district's role in creating the conditions necessary to support effective human capital management. It then offers a comprehensive, visionary framework that weaves these elements together.
Rachel E. Curtis works with school systems, foundations, higher education, and education policy organizations on district improvement strategy, leadership development, and efforts to make teaching a rewarding career. Judy Wurtzel is deputy assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development at the U.S. Department of Education and the former codirector of the Aspen Institute Education and Society Program.