A welcome distraction

You know my passion is education. I think about it a lot — how we can do it better at all levels. Today’s links are all about education:

1. What is the value of a good teacher? Eric Hanushek has done a lot of economic analysis to answer this question. I particularly like this quote: “The calculations above show the enormous value to individuals and society of “deselecting” the least effective teachers. Is such a policy change feasible? If we contemplate asking 5 to 10 percent of teachers to find a job at which they are more effective so they can be replaced by teachers of average productivity, states and school districts would have to change their employment practices. They would need recruitment, pay, and retention policies that allow for the identification and compensation of teachers on the basis of their effectiveness with students. At a minimum, the current dysfunctional teacher-evaluation systems would need to be overhauled so that effectiveness in the classroom is clearly identified. This is not an impossible task.” It may not be impossible, but it does require a real shift in attitude. CPS teachers talk a lot about Finland, but besides professional development, Finland does a lot of deselection on the front end, before teachers are entrenched in their positions. We would do well to adopt some of those early policies.

I haven’t read this entire article, but it seems to be in the same vein as that article about how to better teach math. Basically, how do we incorporate more pattern recognition into our learning? This is how we learn how to speak (badly, in some parts of the country); why shouldn’t it be how we learn math? And the incorporation of video game technology is pretty awesome as well.

The headline of this column/article is telling: “If money matters, this report is a big deal.” That’s because it shows hard data on the difference between majoring in engineering and science and the humanities. This isn’t really surprising, but it should continue to drive our support of STEM programs in our elementary + high schools.

This is peripherally related to education, but it shows the impact of our policies. When you consider how many men (and particularly minority men) are in jail, we need to be considering a) how our education system can support students before they drop out/get off track and b) how we should change our support systems for individuals leaving jail. Paula Wolff wrote a pretty sweet report for Metropolis 2020 a few years ago about the impact of our juvenile justice policies. I’ll track it down and post.

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One Response to A welcome distraction

  1. Pingback: Valuing Teachers - Julie BoydJulie Boyd

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