Education relies on the talent, skill and commitment of teachers and school leaders. The moment students walk into school, no factor is more important to learning than the quality of their teachers. As the primary asset of the American educational system, and as the bedrock of our democracy and economy, our nation’s educators deserve to be part of an esteemed profession that attracts the most talented graduates, provides support to improve and grow, rewards excellence and doesn’t make allowances for continued poor performance.  Great teachers also need great principals, and to attract great principals means giving them the freedom to make decisions for their schools in a culture of support and accountability.  If we do these things, we will be well on our way to creating a system of great schools.  Our students deserve no less.

To significantly improve student achievement, Carnegie Corporation focuses on : (1) recruiting and preparing excellent teachers and principals, (2) using student learning data to develop teachers throughout their careers so that they and their students continue to improve, and (3) providing assessments to manage talent: to incentivize top performers, remove low performers, and ensure that the highest-need students and classrooms have the teachers best equipped to help them. 

Read the Report

A call for rethinking the way teachers are recruited, trained, developed and rewarded, as well as an argument for making better use of talented teachers already on the job. Read Online

Boston Globe op-ed:

The Talent Strategy. How To Make Sure Every Student Has A Great Teacher

The root cause of the nation’s failing educational system is now widely recognized as the lack of well-prepared, high-performing teachers. So why haven’t we done something about it? It isn’t just lack of money, since up to 80 percent of public school budgets already goes for staff. Districts and states lack a system for managing the nation’s approximately four million teachers. Read Online


A Q&A With Talia Milgrom-Elcott

Program Officer Talia Milgrom-Elcott discusses Carnegie Corporation’s focus on human capital and data and accountability. Read Online

Human Capital Grant Portfolio

Carnegie Corporation invests in cutting-edge, effective nonprofit organizations whose work focuses on getting skilled, committed teachers and leaders into high-needs schools and supporting them to succeed there. Our grantees include:

Podcast: Recruiting and Retaining the Best Teachers

A series of podcasts on teacher quality, from the Education Writer Association seminar The Promise and Pitfalls of Improving the Teaching Profession.



Select human capital grantees discuss their work, personal motivations and visions for the future.

Kate Walsh

Kate Walsh

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) advocates for reforms in teacher policies at the federal, state, and local levels... Read More

Catherine Brown TFA 3

Catherine Brown

Carnegie Corporation awarded its first grant to Teach For America (TFA) in 1990.  For the past 20 years, TFA has confronted the... Read More


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