Managing Educator Talent: Promising Practices and Lessons from Midwestern States

Ellen Behrstock-Sherratt

Between 2009 and 2010, seven Midwestern states—Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin—passed significant legislation addressing teacher preparation, licensure, and evaluation. AIR conducted a review of this legislation, analyzing each state’s system for developing, recruiting, and retaining effective teachers and leaders.

The analysis explains the need for a cohesive, systemic approach to educator talent management, presents findings of trends and patterns in state policy, and provides recommendations to policymakers towards crafting such an approach.


  • States are now playing a larger role in the areas of teacher performance management. 
  • Leadership at high levels is critical to driving reforms in educator quality. 
  • Programs geared toward recruiting, developing, and supporting school leaders do not exist to the same extent as programs for teachers, if at all. 
  • States vary greatly in their ability to project educator supply and demand. 
  • States only minimally monitor how well their investments in educator quality policies achieve their intended goals. 
  • During the initial phases of policy development, broad stakeholder engagement is crucial. 
  • Barriers to the implementation of systemic educator talent management policies can be overcome through increased collaboration among state education agencies. 
  • Breaking down interdepartmental silos will facilitate the coordination of policy initiatives.