Teachability

According to the “teachability index” developed by Manhattan Institute researchers Jay P. Greene and Greg Forster, today’s students are 8.7 percent more teachable — that is, less prone to disadvantages that affect learning — than they were in 1970.

Children’s physical health and economic security have substantially improved, and preschool enrollment has grown dramatically. While other factors have presented increased challenges — broken homes and students whose native language isn’t English are more common — these changes have been more than offset by ongoing improvements in children’s well-being.

North Dakota, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and South Dakota have the most teachable (least disadvantaged) students. Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and the District of Columbia have the hardest-to-teach kids.

In looking at academic outcomes relative to “teachability,” the study found “states with more school choice or stronger accountability testing demonstrate better school performance.” Montana, Colorado, Kansas, Texas, and North Carolina rank best on the School Performance Index; California, Alabama, Mississippi, Hawaii and the District of Columbia are the goats.

Utah, Idaho, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Arkansas get the most performance for the buck. Lowest on the School Efficiency Index were Alaska, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.

Of course, there have to be many ways to weigh students’ disadvantages.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. Mike in Texas says:

    I noticed a couple of important factors to learning missing: attention span and ability to concentrate.

    What does religious observance have to do with teachability?

  2. I noticed a couple of important factors to learning missing: attention span and ability to concentrate.

    And I noticed that the most important factor, at least according to the gospel of Mike, isn’t.

    Funding.

    Up over 100% in thirty years.

    Obviously, that’s not enough. What would be enough Mike?

    200%? 300%?

  3. Is it possible that religious observance actually has something to do with ability to concentrate and sit still? Kids in my family, accustomed to sitting through a church service, have little problem sitting through a lesson in school.

  4. back to neutral corner, … and no biting, please, Allen

    article that I read had to do with readiness of the students. you might have read in the opening paragraph of the executive summary: Please tell all what you thought of reading the article, rather than what you wanted MiT to comment on.

    now there is a relevant section in Figure 12-14 that you may want to tackle — although it pertains to efficiency, rather than directly on funding. in general, it is both how well funds are used as well funding levels. one can be effiecient and underfunded; one can be inefficient and overfunded in both cases the question is effective education. (as well as some tradeoffs)

    Thanks!

  5. Chris wrote:

    back to neutral corner, … and no biting, please, Allen

    This is an effort to lighten the mood a trifle, right? Keep in mind the limitations of the medium.

    article that I read had to do with readiness of the students.

    The article says:

    Huge increases in resources are producing no improvements in student achievement: inflation-adjusted spending per pupil has doubled in the last thirty years while academic outcomes are flat. Defenders of the status quo claim the reason is that students are less teachable than they used to be; problems like poverty and social dysfunction have made the schools’ job harder.

    To put it in non-scholarly terms: more money, no more results, let’s examine the excuses.

    In a more general sense the article is aimed at people just like Mike. People who’d rather keep the discussion subjective when they can’t stifle discussion altogether. People who stand to lose with any departure from the status quo. People who offer excuses that don’t bear examination.

    How are you going to deal with people like that if you don’t call their bluff?

  6. agree on all points, Allen — except on need to frame the *very* important issue as a “gospel of Mike” or other attacks. Thanks for shifting gears in the other parts of your reply.

    Yes, it was an effort to lighten the tone — and with luck, not an affront to lighten the tone(although I hate whenever I have to explain that it was humor)

    Regards,
    Chris

    can you clear up one side query: how do you place quotes and italics? My popup windows lack any font options

  7. shoot me an e-mail and I’ll explain.

  8. Candi Cabaniss says:

    I think Arkansas is listed because “we don’t spend any bucks” on our school system.

  9. Mike in Texas says:

    The more I read this study, and the more I read about it, it reminds me of the “Education Producitivty Index”.

    What a convenient way to get your point across; make up a measurement system that gosh almighty just happens to support your beliefs. I did a google search on the “teachibility Index” and every link that came back refenced the original article. Noticably absent from the “Teachability Index” is some criteria found in a recent study Joanne summarized: Number of books in the home and hunger.

    Allen, you and I have gone round and round about the funding issue and my answer remains the same. Fund schools to the goals you expect them to achieve. Remember Allen that it was the state of Texas itself that came up with the 55% funding number, not me.

    From the article
    >This study, the first of its kind, systematically measures the teachability of students by examining sixteen social factors that researchers agree affect student teachability

    The reason its the first ever? The authors made it up.

  10. Richard Brandshaft says:

    On the perennial funding vs. results question, I’ve seen the elephant in the room ignored time and time again: the depression and World War II.

    FDR tried to cure the depression by government spending. It didn’t work. Then World War II happened. The depression was cured. At least as late as the 1960s, conservatives were saying FDR was proven wrong: you can’t spend your way out of a depression; it took WW II to cure the Great Depression. Those of us who are not conservatives noticed that WW II involved a great deal of government spending.

    The lesson: sometimes more spending didn’t help because you didn’t spend enough.

    Conservatives do in fact take this view of the cocaine, heroin, and marijuana price support programs. Just because we have spend vast amounts and only succeeded in bringing disaster down on ourselves (not to mention crippling the civil structures of Columbia and Mexico) is no reason not to just try harder. It’s a question of temperament: are you more emotionally invested in educating children or putting people in jail for their own good?

    And yes, any amount of money does no good if it is mis-spent.

  11. Mike in Texas says:

    Richard,

    I can agree with people when they start talking about more oversight and accountability on how the money is spent. There was an article in the Houston Chronicle the other day about a school that build a 4.5 million dollar football stadium. I wonder how many academic programs are underfunded in that school district? The distric I work for has 3.5 million dollar gym and is doing a .5 upgrade (its only 3 years old) but yet our elementary and primary schools don’t have music education.

  12. Tim from Texas says:

    The reason sports receives more funding than it ever should is coaches are organized, have a play book and stand their ground.

    Even when faced with high-stakes testing, teachers are extremely reluctant to organize or down right refuse to organize toward a common goal.

    Historically, the ruling class and its politicians were either afraid of or vehemently against teachers having any real authority. It has always worked, in one form or another, to keep the door to authority shut. It was a mistake on its part, and now the door is open.

    Teachers are being asked to enter, but teachers shrink from it, for they are stuck in “third monkey thinking”.

    If teachers organized and either created or followed a plan that led to a “winning record” easily recognized by the public, then perhaps a multi-million dollar academic stadium would be built.

  13. Mike in Texas says:

    I found a really interesting quote from one of the authors. Wish I knew how to do things like bold or italics on this website.

    “”Just because a place has good test scores or bad test scores doesn’t mean they have good or bad schools,” Greene said. ”

    “Greene” of course is Jay P., noted public school basher. Of course, this totally contradicts what he study claims, which is states with more accountability testing give students a better education.

    http://susanohanian.org/show_atrocities.php?id=3005

  14. I found a really interesting quote from one of the authors. Wish I knew how to do things like bold or italics on this website.

    Greater-than symbol, letter “i”, less-than symbol, Just because a place has good test scores or bad test scores doesn’t mean they have good or bad schools,” Greene said.Greater-than symbol, slash, letter “i”, less-than symbol.

    Just because a place has good test scores or bad test scores doesn’t mean they have good or bad schools,” Greene said.

    Greater-than symbol, letter “b”, less-than symbol,”Greene” of course is Jay P., noted public school basher. Of course, this totally contradicts what he study claims, which is states with more accountability testing give students a better education.Greater-than symbol, slash, letter “b”, less-than symbol.

    “Greene” of course is Jay P., noted public school basher. Of course, this totally contradicts what he study claims, which is states with more accountability testing give students a better education.

    Greater-than symbol, letter “a”, a space, href=”, link address, close quote, less-than symbol, the clickable text, Greater-than symbol, slash, letter “a”, less-than symbol.

    specious misrepresentation of authors views supported by a link which doesn’t prove what Mike claims it does

  15. Mike in Texas says:

    Thanks, Allen!