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View Diary: A Response to TeacherKen and Dailykos Community (357 comments)

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  •  Has no one read the research? (none)
    My goodness I am so dissappointed in the DKOS community.

    Comment after comment about class size.  Discipline.  Private/home school/urban/rural.

    Has no one read the research?

    Research shows us that class size has very little to do with student achievement (8% impact).  Research has identified the silver bullet and it is teacher quality.

    What a teacher knows and can do has a tremendous impact on student achievement.

    Look at the data from National Board for Professional Teaching Standards or the studies in Tennessee on value-added data and you will find that teacher quality is the silver bullet.

    You get what you pay for.

    One more note, turns out great teachers want to work for great leaders.  

    Factors influencing student achievement?  #1 is teachers.  #2 is leadership at the school level.

    Turns out if we want the biggest bang for the buck, we should focus on training and recruiting great leaders for schools, which would be followed by great teachers flocking to those schools, and the result is high student achievement.

    Do those two things, and every kid learns, rich, poor, black, white, doesn't matter.

    Think of this great quote by Adam Urbanski:

    "Socio-Economic factors are the biggest influences on student achievement, ABSENT GREAT TEACHING."

    •  To have great teachers (none)
      you must be able to attract them and retain them.

      Burnout is a huge factor for teachers.  Over and over I hear that many teachers become burned out because they have huge classes and feel unable to do their best as a result.  They aren't able to give personal attention to students.

      It does seem that over a period of time, the good teachers that have stuck it out do end up being given the smaller classes with more motivated students.  At least, that was the case at my high school; the really good teachers had the smaller honors classes while the inexperienced and mediocre teachers got the big classes filled with everyone else.  The new teachers, being given the worst of the classes right off the bat, can burn out very quickly.  

      It's not just the teachers who suffer as a result.  I was an honor student, so I benefited from the honors classes, but whenever I had to take a more general-ed class, I could see how poorly the system worked for the non-honors students as well.  They knew they were being stuck with the lower-level teachers, felt they weren't considered as important to the school as the honors students, and that contributed to the general apathy I saw among many of them.  And while many of these teachers were certainly not of the high quality of the honors teachers, it also seemed to me that in many cases it was a vicious cycle - whatever potential these teachers had was pretty effectively crushed by unmanageably large class after unmanageably large class of uninterested students.  They got no satisfaction out of their jobs.

      Unsurprisingly, another result of all this was that these teachers could be quite envious of the honors teachers, who had much more job satisfaction and much more personal and engaging relationships with their honors students.

    •  Please, don't denigrate the whole community (none)
      We have read the research, re-read this thread.  Of course the number one factor is having a highly qualified, passionate teacher in the classroom.

      Please do not needlessly denigrate the Dkos community.

      Now, how do you get great teachers in the classroom.  Read my post above.  It ain't easy because what makes a great teacher is not the system.

      It is more personal than that.  What makes a great lawyer?  What makes a great doc?   What makes a great politician?  We're into intangibles here.

      Vilsack can offer me 100K to go to Des Moines and set his honors lit classes on fire and you know what?:  I would not go.  Why?  It's not about money to me.  I have a life and a community around Minneapolis that I love.  And, in addition, after 15 years, I have graded and commented on enough English papers to fill an entire classroom from floor to ceiling.  (I kid you not.)  At some point, 90% of teachers burn out from all the work, the bullshit and the grind of the schedule.

      Of course, teachers are the Alpha and the Omega of education.  But you are still in nowhere's ville my good friend because you have not found a way to get them to the classroom and make them happy for 35 years.  It's not just money, it's not just professionalism,  it's not just leadership, it's not just smaller classes.  It's about human beings, something far more complex and unpredictable.

      That's reality-based.  

      Education? Teaching? NCLB? Read my book _Becoming Mr. Henry_

      by Mi Corazon on Mon Oct 10, 2005 at 08:11:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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