Will more effective teachers solve achievement gap?

With policy-makers calling for improvements to teacher quality as the panacea for schools, a new paper looks at the difference in teacher effectiveness between schools in poor and wealthy communities.

What did they find? Well, overall the difference in teacher quality wasn’t as drastic as others have made it out to be. In fact, schools in poor communities had some experienced teachers who were better than their counterparts in wealthier communities.

But, in poorer school communities teachers with the least experience were less effective than their experience equals in higher-wealth schools.

The paper makes a weak argument about the causes. It suggests that burn out and stress, or lack of staff support might be a bigger issue that teacher effectiveness. More work surely needs to be done in discovering the causes.

Nonetheless, the findings are interesting. The study suggests that instead of asking: How do we make teachers at low-income schools more effective?

We should be asking: How do we prepare and support newer teachers to better succeed amidst the challenges posed in a low-income district?

Read the full study here.



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