Archive for August 25, 2011

Why U.S. Teachers Work the Most But U.S. Students Stay Average

Interesting set of studies that argue that US teachers work a lot, but aren’t so productive (in terms of student achievement).  How could more of teachers not correlate with better students?  An interesting argument here suggests that the low salaries of US teachers are at fault.  Are we attracting the most productive possible teachers?

Among 27 member nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, U.S. teachers work the longest hours, the Wall Street Journal reports. This seems particularly impressive as the U.S. has long summer vacations, and primary-school teachers only spent 36 weeks a year in the classroom, among the lowest of the countries tracked. Yet the educators spent 1,097 hours a year teaching, in the most recent numbers from 2008. New Zealand, in second place at 985 hours, had schools open for 39 weeks a year. The OECD average is 786 hours…

One conclusion to be drawn from this is, as the Journal writes, “American teachers are the most productive among major developed countries.” But it also notes that “student achievement in the U.S. remains average in reading and science and slightly below average in math when compared to other nations in a separate OECD report.”…

There is something strange about this finding that countries where the teachers work fewer hours produce better educated students. Although the Journal does not address this in its article, the issue is energetically taken up elsewhere. To some it is a salary issue. Business Insider reported that in comparison to other developed countries, American educators work the most hours of all industrialized nations, but are the fifth lowest paid after 15 years on the job. Finland, the company ranked highest in international tests, has teachers that work the fifth fewest hours, and are the ninth lowest paid.

via Why U.S. Teachers Work the Most But U.S. Students Stay Average – Business – The Atlantic Wire.

August 25, 2011 at 8:26 am 9 comments


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