Archive for April 17, 2010
Really compelling piece arguing that “Different teachers get very different results with similar students,” that quality of teaching is the biggest difference between low-achieving and high-achieving students, even in low socioeconomic status settings. In particular, they argue we need smarter teachers, then reward their strong performance. They are implicitly arguing that pedagogical content knowledge matters less than knowing the content knowledge in the first place.
In the debate over how to fix American public education, many believe that schools alone cannot overcome the impact that economic disadvantage has on a child, that life outcomes are fixed by poverty and family circumstances, and that education doesn’t work until other problems are solved.
This theory is, in some ways, comforting for educators…
Problem is, the theory is wrong. It’s hard to know how wrong — because we haven’t yet tried to make the changes that would tell us — but plenty of evidence demonstrates that schools can make an enormous difference despite the challenges presented by poverty and family background.