The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) was founded in 1994 at Teachers College, Columbia University as a bipartisan endeavor to engage experienced policymakers and practitioners in researching the entrenched national challenge of recruiting, developing, and retaining teachers. Led at its inception by North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt and Stanford professor Linda Darling-Hammond, who served as the Commission’s executive director, NCTAF published What Matters Most: Teaching for America’s Future and called for widespread changes in how K–12 teachers are recruited, prepared, and retained. The report’s recommendations inspired creation of state partnerships, facilitated new alliances among nonprofits, and led to efforts at state and federal levels to rethink policies and practices about teachers and teaching quality. In 2001, NCTAF became a 501c3 non-profit research advocacy organization based in Washington, DC.

The Commission then researched practices that hinder successful teaching, especially in urban and poor schools, resulting in the 2003 report No Dream Denied: A Pledge to America’s Children. This report called for schools, districts and policymakers to address the chronic conditions that make schools hard to staff. NCTAF’s research has informed the growth of professional teaching standards, brought teacher attrition into the national dialogue, and seeded national discussions about how to develop teachers’ skills and career pathways.

The Commission continues its work advancing the agenda to support great teaching and the conditions that foster it. Coinciding with its 20-year anniversary, NCTAF is launching a new three-year initiative to refocus the nation’s attention on its original mission to ensure that every child has access to competent, caring teachers in schools organized for success. Led by former US Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley and former Education Commission of the States President Ted Sanders, the Commission is well-positioned to issue a national call to action for good teaching for all schools so that all students can achieve college and career success. Learn more about the Commission’s Initiative to Support Great Teaching below.

Read NCTAF’s Great Teaching Initiative press release here.

Read Statements of Support for NCTAF’s Great Teaching Initiative here.

Supporting Great Teaching Initiative Commissioners  NCTAF Team