Teachers in high-poverty schools

Teachers in high-poverty schools are only slightly less effective than teachers in low-poverty schools, concludes a study conducted in Florida and North Carolina. But the least-effective teachers in high-poverty schools are worse than the least-effective teachers in affluent schools, according to a new analysis (pdf) from the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research, or CALDER. That means low-income students are more likely to be taught be a very bad teacher.

“Teaching experience seem to improve a teacher’s effectiveness in a low-poverty school, but less so in a high-poverty school,” writes Stephen Sawchuk on Teacher Beat.  After awhile, teachers in tough working environments burn out.

The bottom line of the study, according to the authors: Simply attempting to import teachers with great credentials into high-poverty schools probably won’t make a long-term difference. Instead, “measures that induce highly effective teachers to move to high-poverty schools and which promote an environment in which teachers’ skills will improve over time are more likely to be successful.”

Go here for more on strategies to get good teachers to high-poverty schools.

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  1. teachers in high-poverty schools face a battle against the societal norms that those children come with, and i think THAT has an effect on how effective the teacher will be.

    and to say that the “least effective teachers in high-poverty schools are worse. . .” is misleading. i think if you swapped a “least effective teacher” from a high poverty and a low poverty school, you’d find the same results. they’d both still suck, and the one in the high poverty school would seem to suck more.

  2. Right. I’m just dying to move to a school that is going to burn me out.