Fast facts on achievement

The Education Equality Project’s Fast Facts are based on the idea that what gets measured gets done.

For far too long we have lacked the necessary data to track and understand the breadth, depth, and complexity of the education achievement gap. Luckily, that is changing. Today we have more information about success and failure in public education than ever before, helping us to better understand and solve the achievement gap.

Under good teachers, for example:

Research suggests that a good teacher is the single most important factor in boosting achievement, more important than class size, the dollars spent per student, or the quality of textbooks and materials.

On average, Fast Facts says, low-income students are two years behind middle-class students.

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  1. The piece misses the other requirement to ensure that something gets done; the will to do it.

    Right now that’s probably the single, biggest shortcoming of the public education system, the lack of a systemic motivation toward excellence. Trying to make do with a motivation cobbled together out of the legislative process will result in a politicized and ineffective motivation.

    Since it’ll be the law that requires performance a significant motivation will be to circumvent the law since the law-enforcers can’t be everywhere. That’s still better then the current situation but that’s not much solace. The current situation sucks.

  2. Allen,

    On what evidence do you base your belief that teachers lack motivation to adopt and implement good teaching methods? Have you ever spent a day watching classes at your local middle school? Do you see a lot of slothful teachers there? I remember some sluggish, dull teachers from when I was in high school. But in my thirteen years teaching in three large public schools, I see a lot more overwork than underwork. I’d estimate that the slugs constitute 5-10% of the staff. The overworked, burning-out crowd –50%. And to suggest they’re averse to change seems ludicrous. Sadly, changes are foisted upon us every year it seems and teachers dutifully (and stupidly, in my opinion) adopt them with alacrity.
    Are you interested in being empirical in your thinking, or are you willing to base your opinions on nothing?

    What I see a lot of is teachers working crazy hours (one colleague arrives at school two hours before classes start every day –and works nights and weekends) and STILL getting poor results. Why? Tragically, they’re implementing the lame ideas that have currency at superintendents’ conventions, bastions of charlatans and careerists.

    One such lame idea is that we have to goad teachers to work harder. We need to work smarter, not harder. I’m convinced the smart way to go is to imitate successful systems like Finland’s and France’s. This is essentially what E.D. Hirsch’s Core Knowledge program does. Unfortunately, he’s been marginalized by the ed establishment.


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