The Private School Teacher Skills Gap - EdChoice


  • Feb 19 2019

The Private School Teacher Skills Gap

By Michael Q. McShane

The Private School Teacher Skills Gap report set out to answer a simple question: Do private school educators need a different set of skills than public school educators need to be successful? To answer that question, author Mike McShane, in partnership with Hanover Research, surveyed private school teachers and leaders across three states, including a substantial subset who had taught or led in both public and private schools. Based on the findings, he also identified opportunities to improve teacher preparation programs.

Listen to a podcast with McShane about the project and his key findings here.

What Will I Learn? Download Report

The Private School Teacher Skills Gap


In this report, you will learn:

  • 1

    Successful public and private school educators share a lot of the same skills.

    The list of skills public and private school teachers and leaders need to be successful is much longer than the list of skills they don’t share. Just some of the skills and characteristics they both need include: being innovative, communication skills, critical thinking, organization and planning skills, understanding research, flexibility, acting as a role model and being a team player.
  • 2

    Private school educators need a certain set of skills that public school educators don’t.

    Because private schools often act as independent, autonomous organizations, educators need more preparation in legal compliance, accounting and finance than their public school peers. Because private schools almost always exist in a competitive space, educators in this sector are also more likely to need public relations and marketing skills. Because private schools are more likely to be faith-based, both teachers and leaders indicated the need to act as faith leaders and models of faith.
  • 3

    Teacher prep programs in colleges of education could tweak their offerings to better prepare future private school educators.

    With a few simple changes, educator preparation programs could provide pathways for pre-service teachers and school leaders to get the training they need to be successful in private schools. They could cross-list courses from other departments—such as finance, legal and even theology courses—and give students credit for taking them.
  • 4

    Colleges of education might consider creating preparation programs geared specifically to future private school teachers.

    In states with large private school populations or large private school choice programs, the demand for well-trained private school teachers might be high enough for colleges of education to consider offering prep programs specifically geared the private sector. Creating new, standalone private school-focused programs might also make sense for religious colleges aligned to elementary and secondary schools that share their faith tradition.

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