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June 08, 2011
June 09, 2011
November 05, 2008
October 25, 2011
September 03, 2009
CORRECTION. This fantastic Gotham
Schools article explains that
New York’s rating system was designed to guarantee that “effective” and “ineffective”
teachers would be found all over the city. Which renders the New York Times story—and my post—basically
Still, this wasn’t the first bit of evidence showing that we might not have a
teacher effectiveness gap, or at least much of one. This rigorous CALDER study, in particular, found that:
So the evidence on the lack of a gap isn’t as open and shut
as my post implies. But it certainly appears likely that the gap is much
smaller than we once thought—which does call for pushing the pause button on
massive efforts to move teachers around.
The finding—reported by the Times this weekend—that really good,
and really bad, teachers are evenly distributed around New York City is jaw-dropping news. It upends
everything we thought we knew about teacher quality, especially the notion that
our achievement gap is caused in large part by a "teacher
quality gap," with the worst teachers clustered in the neediest
schools. But they aren't. So now what?
Let me stipulate that this finding might be incorrect (though previous
analyses have come to similar conclusions). Maybe it's harder for teachers
in affluent schools to show strong value-added gains, because their students
are already topping out on the tests. Perhaps student mobility is making
teachers in high-poverty schools look better than they really are. (Their worst
students don't show up for testing—or have already moved onto another school.)
But assume it's true. What are the implications?
We have a lot of problems in k-12 education to address.
Let's be grateful that we can take "closing the teacher effectiveness
gap" off our to-do list.