Very good teachers can compensate for not-so-good parents, argues Eric Hanushek in a Children of the Code interview.
If you make the most conservative estimates possible, we find that if you have a good teacher, meaning a teacher that’s at the 85th percentile or one standard deviation above the mean. If you had a good teacher five years in a row, you could completely make up for the difference between low-income and middle income achievement, on average. Having good teachers a number of years in a row can offset the disadvantages that some kids have from being less prepared coming to school and from their families not giving them the same start.
The ways we judge teacher quality don’t correlate well to ability to raise student achievement, he says.