Opportunity at the Top: How America's Best Teachers Could Close the Gaps, Raise the Bar, and Keep our Nation Great

Bryan Hassel and Emily Hassel
Public Impact
June 2010

What if we could close the achievement gap in five years? The Hassels
think it can be done and in this paper they explain how. It builds upon
their earlier report, 3X For All,
which explained how we could take better advantage of the 800,000 or so
most effective teachers by extending their reach (number of children
served) and touch (direct interaction with students). But while that one
explained how to do that—mostly through expanded use of
technology—this report explains what would happen if we did. The top 25
percent of teachers typically advance their students through a full six
months more material during the course of a year than the average
teacher, and as much as a year more material than a bottom quartile
teacher (in whose classroom students would lose ground). Thus
every two years a child spends with a top quartile teacher typically
yield three years of academic growth. The average black student is two
years behind a white peer. So, if you put that black student in a top
quartile teacher’s classroom for four years in a row, you have
eliminated the achievement gap. Five years and the black student is
ahead of the curve. Unfortunately, the way we recruit, compensate, and
evaluate teachers makes this nigh impossible. The Hassels explain this
in considerable detail, but they stop short of saying how to actually
eradicate such counterproductive practices from the system. Still,
acknowledging that they exist is part of the battle. Read it here.

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