Policy makers and school leaders are perennially concerned with the capacity of the nation's public schools to recruit and retain highly skilled teachers. Over the past two decades, policy strategies including the federal No Child Left Behind Act and alternative pathways to teaching, as well as changes in the broader labor market, have altered the context in which academically skilled college graduates choose whether to enter teaching, and, if so, where to teach. Using data from 1993 to 2008, we find that schools nationwide are recruiting a greater share of academically skilled college graduates into teaching, and that increases in teachers’ academic skills are especially large in urban school districts that serve predominantly nonwhite students. On the other hand, the increase in the share of academically skilled teachers coincides with the lower likelihood of nonwhite teachers being employed. Once teaching, nonwhite teachers report substantially lower job satisfaction than other teachers. The issue of how to recruit and support an academically skilled and diverse teacher workforce remains pressing.

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