Decatur board member: “Quality of the teaching in the classroom is the most powerful determinant.”

On the blog today, some folks asked why I don’t write more about  the practices of high-achieving districts, such as Decatur. Two hours later, I received this e-mail from a Decatur board member explaining why he is choosing not to run for a third term.

That board member is John Ahmann, who is also a policy expert on education and has worked with the Atlanta chamber and APS over the years. Ahmann and I have had a lot of professional discussions over the years on teacher quality, one of his major focuses. (As I noted earlier, my twins attend Decatur schools.)

I thought Ahmann’s statement offered insights beyond Decatur, so I am sharing it here:

Here is his statement in part:

Over the last eight years, I have worked hard to contribute to helping City Schools of Decatur be among the best of the best. But just as in a relay race, I think now is the time to “pass the baton” so that someone else may continue the sprint to the finish line, and I have decided to not seek re-election to the Board.

Having worked in public policy change my entire adult life, I am acutely aware that any successful endeavor involves many people working together as links in a chain. I am proud to have been a link in the chain for arranging pro bono support from the Boston Consulting Group to develop the System’s strategic plan eight years ago; brokering philanthropic partnerships that led to the early childhood learning center and the program with the Ben Franklin Academy (which ensured dozens of at-risk students graduated from DHS); and working closely with Lt. Governor Casey Cagle on the legislation that enabled the creation of Charter Districts.

The area I have pushed the hardest and with the most consistency the last eight years is raising the quality of our instruction staff. Simply put, Decatur students deserve the best teachers. Recruiting and retaining the best teachers requires that we support them fully in their work and development as well as evaluate their performance in a clear and consistent way. I leave understanding much better how hard teaching really is, and that we must do so much more to nurture, support and reward great teaching. And we owe it to our children to do something about poor teaching in those instances where we find it.

The research is overwhelming in its conclusion that the quality of the teaching in the classroom is the most powerful determinant to a student’s success. A child in Decatur should never have a bad experience because of poor teaching. Decatur is blessed with a high-quality instruction staff, but we should not stop until we believe that every teacher in every classroom in every subject is in at least the top 10% of teachers nationwide. With over 400 applications per teacher opening, CSD can be highly selective.

With the support of an amazing community, CSD has aimed high: to be among the best community school districts in the nation. The challenges ahead for City Schools of Decatur are substantial because we aspire to be among the best in the nation. Over the last few months I have been in the “nay” category on a number of important votes. These included the high school start time; our transportation contract with the DeKalb County School System; a 1.5% pay raise for CSD staff at a time when we are engaged in deficit spending; and the recent 1 mill tax increase. So I have concluded that either candidate currently running for District 1 post would be more effective than I have been at enacting the change I believe is needed to continue our progress going forward.

As a prepare to hand off this baton to the next sprinter, I want to end with a big thank you to this amazing community that gives such tremendous support to our school system, both in engagement and also financially through paying a very high local millage rate. Sometimes the intensity of the engagement was tough on particular votes but in retrospect I can truly say the decisions were better for it. I have learned from my own experience that a temptation on the school board is to assume a, “they don’t understand” posture, or a we/they view instead of “us.”

Another temptation is to manage community engagement instead of truly embracing it, especially when it disagrees. Being human, the ego comes into play and sometimes issues feel personal that really should not be. Checking the ego at the door and the propensity to believe as a school board member I have all the facts and they (the community) don’t is hard. This is why community engagement is so, so important. We are all fallible. None of us know everything. But through the push and pull of dialogue, through engagement (sometimes intense), we will make better decisions. I know I did.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

68 comments Add your comment

Digger

August 25th, 2011
7:39 pm

Nah, its the quality of the students (read: parents).

Mikey D

August 25th, 2011
7:58 pm

We need more people like this in positions of leadership.

catlady

August 25th, 2011
8:04 pm

Two equally disadvantaged students have teachers. One teacher is significantly more highly skilled than the other. EVERYTHING ELSE BEING EQUAL, the student with the more highly skilled teacher is likely to do better.

Here is the problem: Everything else is NEVER equal. There are too many variables in real human life.

The greatest predictors of student success are parental education, parental income, and parental (especially maternal) aspirations for their child, assuming adequate intelligence. Quality of teacher is far down the list (assuming that you don’t have totally incompetent teachers, and Decatur is reknown for not having this). With older students, even peer influences are stronger predictors than teacher quality.

No one is saying Decatur should go out and take other systems’ rejects. But they are not known for that.

Cobb Teacher

August 25th, 2011
8:09 pm

Catlady…you’re EXACTLY right. Thank you!!

Anonmom

August 25th, 2011
9:24 pm

Can we get Lakeside and Druid HIlls and their feeder schools out of DCSS and into CSD — please….

C'mon

August 25th, 2011
9:28 pm

@cat and Cobb … ah yes, the battle-cry of the mediocre to bad teacher! So many variables! Woe is me!

Mikey D

August 25th, 2011
10:12 pm

@C’mon
Are you suggesting that those variables do not have a significant impact on students’ ability to learn and succeed? If so, you’re either naive or a fool.

Gwinnett Progressive

August 25th, 2011
10:15 pm

I hope that Lois Radloff in Gwinnett is reading this article and taking notes. Nearly forty years on the Gwinnett County School Board is way too long. Others with new and fresh ideas need a place at the table.

Real issue

August 25th, 2011
10:18 pm

It confuses me when teachers argue that the quality of a teacher doesn’t make a difference. We’ve all been in classes where the teacher was horrible or average and we were bored out of our minds or didn’t learn anything. Research shows that over 50% of student achievement is correlated with family factors, but it’s just a sell out point of view to say that teachers can’t impact students from the most deplorable family conditions. Great teachers make a difference…that difference may not be passing the crct, but it could be teaching a student to read and be motivated to have a productive life. Schools can’t control the quality of students who walk through their doors but they can and should control the quality of the teachers who teach those students. Any educator who believe that teacher quality isn’t important should find another line of work. Teacher quality is not the determining factor in a child’s success but it is the biggest factor we have control over. Our kids deserve the best!

Real issue

August 25th, 2011
10:21 pm

Sorry iPhone typing that should say believes.

C'mon

August 25th, 2011
10:28 pm

Amen Real Issue! I hate it when teachers act like those of us that don’t believe that your zip code has to determine your fate are just “naive or a fool”. I agree that if you don’t think you can have an impact, just move on to something else…

Old Physics Teacher

August 25th, 2011
10:30 pm

I re-read the article and got incensed again. Do any real reporters still exist? What happened to the old-timy reporters who would cry, “Buffalo Chips!” or words to that effect when people would make outlandish false claims and expect the public (in the form of the reporter) to buy that drivel Where are today’s Edward R Murrows?

Calling a person an expert on educational policy does NOT make them an expert on educational research (which is mainly a joke – but I’ll save that for another rant at another time). Catlady is dead on correct, not withstanding the comments of C’mon. The quality of the teacher is way down the list of predictors of excellence in education.

I got a great education in public school some 50 years ago, and my teachers knew darn near nothing about anything to do with science. What made my education great was the fact that my mother and father would kick my rear end if any teacher ever said I did anything wrong in the classroom. I had a greater fear of what would happen to me when I got home than what would happen at school if I screwed up. I read my books, learned what my teachers taught, and got on with my life. And I never made any “A’s” outside of science. I was an average student thgaat excelled in the business world and changed careers in middle age to give something back to the society that allowed me to become a success.

C’mon’s attitude is a whole lot like the parents of my current students. When their child screws up, doesn’t pay attention in class, and then fails, it’s my fault. It certainly couldn’t be THEIR fault, now could it? Everybody is looking for a simple solution and teachers make an easy scapegoat.

I try not to make hard and fast statements, because I have to occasionally eat my words, but I’m forced by this article to belive one of two possibilities. Mr. Ahmann is either a knowing liar who is spreading easily disproved falsehoods, or he is really, really ignorant. Neither condition is acceptable.

Atlanta mom

August 25th, 2011
10:32 pm

I think what the Decatur School System is doing is great. But, let us know confuse Decatur with Dekalb or Atlanta. For the most recent year, Decatur has free and reduced lunches of 27%. Not even close to the other two systems mentioned. Also, interesting, as I have never seen this before, for the 2010-2011 school year, they made AYP in math based on “mulityear average”, not current year performance.
Good teachers make a difference. So does SES.

Atlanta mom

August 25th, 2011
10:36 pm

oops “not” not “know”. And the stats stated are for the high school.

Frank

August 25th, 2011
10:46 pm

Burying quality teachers with redundant, NCLB tedious paperwork, and ‘after-work’ hours at home, taking away quality time with their families will not ever increase their quality level. In fact, it may go in the opposite direction. More is not better, and the most successful teachers are young, single, and have no social life, to be more accessible to the demands of NCLB and the rigors of the increased job requirements, as stipulated in the voluminous addendums to their contracts. Teachers who really love teaching and love children will never be able to measure concretely their success. Love is not a variable, it is a constant, and is not a statistic for data analysis.

ScienceTeacher671

August 25th, 2011
10:51 pm

Catlady is SOOO correct!

Eh...

August 25th, 2011
11:01 pm

Blaming the teacher is putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. So many factors outside and even inside the classroom (behavior problems beyond the teacher’s control) affect a child’s education more so than the teacher delivering the instruction.

Kenyatta

August 25th, 2011
11:15 pm

I agree with Catlady. Well spoken.

Kenyatta

August 25th, 2011
11:22 pm

Right on Frank!

Retired teacher

August 25th, 2011
11:34 pm

The BEST teachers are seasoned educators. We know what works. Young teachers–don’t know much–coming from college, they soon learn not much applies to the classroom.

So, FRANK, who do you want to teach your children–grandchildren? Experienced teachers with 20-30 years or a new young one? I already know the answer–experience does count. We can make a difference–and WE do.

rookie math teacher

August 25th, 2011
11:34 pm

Not so fast cat lady. I teach in a poor sw dekalb school. I have many poor kids with excellent standardized test scores. Dirt poor. How do you explain the 20-35 % of low income kids who exceed the standards. How do explain the kids who have more income yet lower test scores. Stats tell only part of the story. Teacher quality is important but so is management quality. Often administrations are more jack leg politicians and coa. Its just not black and white, rich and poor. Chk Obama, he should have never been president if it was all about class.

Really????

August 25th, 2011
11:41 pm

I don’t usually post a comment but felt compelled to do so this time……
Quality of teachers absolutely MATTER, is ESSENTIAL, and is a MAJOR determinant of a child’s success! Anyone who thinks it’s WAY down on the list is the “naive” entity.. Teachers absolutely know this because they require it for their children. Many teachers enrolled their children in the school in which they teach so if you want to know who the quality teachers are in a school, find the classes that the teachers’ kids are in. Teachers don’t say to themselves, “Well a quality teacher is way down on the list because I’m educated, and have maternal aspirations for my child…”
Teachers should give pro their students, exactly what we expect from our children’s teacher. Our profession has become so negative and saturated with reasons of “WHY” we are not impacting the achievement of our students and this is extremely disheartening. Our profession used to be so respected. Their are so many teachers out here who are committed to our profession, and will not settle for excuses of why our students can’t learn.. There I said it….. EXCUSES….and I AM a teacher!! I work with naysayers everyday and Im sooooo tired of it! So on behalf of teachers like me, who love the profession (in sickness and in health :-) , we say to those teachers who don’t believe they can make a difference, or are tired of analyzing data to determine what needs to be done to be more effective with targeted instruction, or are tired of accountability, or whatever it is that plagues you…..”If you can’t take the heat, then PLEASE get out of the kitchen!!!!” Children’s lives and futures are at stake here!

Cactus

August 25th, 2011
11:48 pm

I do agree with Catlady that parental education, parental income and parental aspirations are very influential. Common sense says all things are never equal when it comes to students, but a high-quality teacher trumps parental influence, poverty and other major influences when it comes to student achievement. The research bears this out. We can’t afford to be defeatist and write off the children of bad or poorly educated or unmotivated parents. Evidence bears out that effective teachers can help young people succeed academically despite the influences of poverty, poor parenting, etc. We have to increase our supply of capable teachers if we want to see any measurable gains in student performance in Georgia.

Rufus T. Putnam

August 25th, 2011
11:51 pm

Teachers in a tough environment have it tough and cannot possibly succeed as well as teachers in yuppie land . But, spin it as you may, no matter where you teach, the skill of the teacher, class size, and support are the biggest predictors of success. When I taught in a majority minority school, my AP Physics students got over 10% of the 5’s in the entire state of Georgia. As I got older and less tolerant of Basic Science, (BS), I taught in suburban districts and obviously did even better. Funny, the rich districts had less money and therefore less equipment. Hey, no problem, let’s roll balls down a hill and see what happens.
In those days the main perk given to teachers was they were allowed to select their children’s teachers. (No longer true). We took full advantage. Yes, my kids have done well. Great teachers make a difference, whether they teach under a tree or in a parking lot.

Ancient Decaturite

August 26th, 2011
1:07 am

Mr. Ahmann’s argument that, after eight years on a Board that has been in nearly lockstep agreement with the superintendent it hired, his very recent disagreements with the majority is evidence that others would be more effective in “enacting the change I believe is needed” simply makes no sense. How would someone completely inexperienced with the Board’s inner workings and relationships be more effective? What assurance does he have that they would even pursue his agenda? Even if they do vote exactly as he would have, why does he think the outcome would be any different? And if his replacement comes to value Board loyalty over open-minded independence, then what was gained? He has recently openly discussed moving from the city of Decatur entirely. It smacks of someone whose feelings have been hurt and now wants to take his ball and go home. A retreat.

Much of Mr. Ahmann’s tenure has been characterized by arrogance and thin-skinned hostility to individuals and communities that needed him to listen, that needed him to understand that these decisions change lives. The portion of his letter addressing the value of real community engagement, especially on thorny issues, represents a stunning turnaround but it strikes me as much more sincere than his explanation for not running.

There is little more useless (and costly to the taxpayers) than a perpetually unanimous Board. If the advice that Mr. Ahmann is offering truly represents lessons he has internalized, then he has grown into a more self-less leader and a better person today than he was when he ran for office eight years ago. I’m surprised to be saying it but I would urge him to reconsider. He can still change lives. As any classroom teacher would tell him, no one wins every battle of every war, but you press onward towards what you believe in. Anything else is a retreat.

John Tippins

August 26th, 2011
1:23 am

Gwinnett Progressive, shane on you. Louise Radloff has focused her entire board tenure on what’s best for the students. I have never seen her vote for something that would negatively impact the students. Call her and talk with her. You will be enlightened. She remains a wonderful dedicated board member.

John Tippins

August 26th, 2011
1:29 am

That would be “shame”.

Innocent Bystander

August 26th, 2011
1:45 am

Young teachers–don’t know much–coming from college, they soon learn not much applies to the classroom.

In other words, education isn’t what makes a teacher…? Then why bother with educating teachers beyond just a four-year degree if all the learning comes with experience?

In my time in high school (and even into college), I found the best teachers I had were within their first 5-7 years of teaching.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

August 26th, 2011
4:07 am

Teacher quality is overwhelmingly dependent upon school and classroom climate. “You can’t have good learning conditions without good teaching conditions.” And you can’t have good teaching conditions without order and respect. Can I put it any more simply? The highest-quality teacher placed in a school situation absent order and respect will probably become another “beat-down” teacher. Why don’t we seem able to appreciate this incontrovertible fact. Wishful thinking ain’t getting us outta this mess, folks.

GrannyCares

August 26th, 2011
4:20 am

Take a look at our Schools of Education. “Houston! We have a problem!”

http://www.aei.org/outlook/101072

mountain man

August 26th, 2011
7:16 am

I would totally disagree. I would say the most powerful determinant of student achievement is student willingness to learn, a by-product of which is attendance. Certainly if you took two equal underprviledged students who missed 40 days a year and compared their teachers, the one with the better teacher would do slightly better. But you could take the best “Teacher of the Year” from Walton High School in East Cobb, and send them to a struggling APS school where the studens are from low SES neighborhoods and they miss a lot of classes, and they are NOT going to be able to miraculously turn them around and bring them up to even minimum standards.

catlady

August 26th, 2011
8:59 am

No one is saying teacher quality (btw, how are you going to measure this?) isn’t important. But it is way, way down the list in importance compared to other significant variables. Familiarize yourself with the big picture research (not local Aunty Em stories) done with statistical methods of “equalizing” variables and see what contributes most to student success. Are there systems or schools or individuals that succeed despite having many strikes against them? Absolutely! Check out the work done with the huge, national databases from the National Center for Educational Statistics for a full picture.

No one says you want unintelligent, unmotivated teachers. However, “quality of the teaching in the classroom is the most powerful determinant to a student’s success” is incorrect.

Calling Buffalo Chips

August 26th, 2011
10:13 am

“The research is overwhelming in its conclusion that the quality of the teaching in the classroom is the most powerful determinant to a student’s success.”

Of course that’s what Beverly Hall said, and claimed to have implemented for 12 years correct?

Now there is a real simple way to test this. Who can point out a school, in a district anywhere in the United States, with a free and reduced lunch rate of over 90% that does consistently better on standardized measures than a school with a 10% and below free and reduced lunch rate?

Hello? Anyone? (Crickets chirping)

So are we saying that there is not a single school, a single school in the entire United States of America, that has that works in a 90% and above free lunch environment, that has a better staff than a school with a 10%?

Or are we saying that we rightfully reject this buffalo chip, because we’ve smelled its stench for the last 12 years in APS?

Calling Buffalo Chips

August 26th, 2011
10:31 am

Maureen has been parroting this “teacher is the most important factor” line for years, as a major thrust of her support of Beverly Hall. It’s part of her blame teachers first mindset, quite possibly because of the trauma she endured in her strict Catholic school upbringing.

One would think that Maureen, being a champion of this line, would readily support her contention with a list of schools in the 90% and above free and reduced lunch group, that consistently outperform schools with a 10% and below free and reduced lunch rate.

Since APS has made this the major part of their instruction focus, perhaps Maureen can reference those schools in the 90% and above group who consistently outperform schools in neighboring counties who have 10% and below free and reduced lunch, but didn’t have the luxury of Hall’s leadership.

I’m sure the list of schools will be shortly coming from Maureen, as proof the claim is true.

It just sounds like crickets chirping; I’m sure it’s just the hard drive spitting out the thousands of schools that prove Maureen’s point.

Amen to Ahmann

August 26th, 2011
10:36 am

Amen Ahmann! You are exactly right.

Thank you for your insights. I wish you weren’t leaving.

Good Mother

To Real Issue From Good Mother

August 26th, 2011
10:39 am

Thank you, Real Issue for your succinct message.

” Any educator who believe that teacher quality isn’t important should find another line of work. Teacher quality is not the determining factor in a child’s success but it is the biggest factor we have control over. Our kids deserve the best!”

I agree with you 100%.

Calling Buffalo Chips

August 26th, 2011
10:48 am

“Decatur is blessed with a high-quality instruction staff, but we should not stop until we believe that every teacher in every classroom in every subject is in at least the top 10% of teachers nationwide.”

My goodness, why didn’t anyone else think of this sooner? Just make sure every child in the nation has a teacher in the top ten percent of all teachers. Problem solved. Brilliant!

Maureen Downey

August 26th, 2011
10:56 am

@Calling, I don’t get people who argue that teacher quality is not a factor when virtually all the research says that WITHIN the school, teacher quality is the most critical element student success. Yes, having two parents with doctorates and a houseful of books helps, but public policy can only address the public arena. We can’t mandate family reading time and smart parents.
The odd thing is that no one would argue your odd position — that the quality of the practitioner doesn’t matter — in any other field. Would you argue that the outcome of a surgery depends solely on the condition and health history of the patient rather than on the skill and experience of the surgeon? Would you argue that a trial’s outcome depends solely on the defendant and has nothing to do with the skill of the defense attorney?
Under your logic, teachers make little to no difference so there is no need to reward good ones or seek to improve ineffective ones.
I assume that you dismiss Sanders’ research — students assigned to three highly effective teachers in a row would have attained fifth-grade mathematics scores that were as much as 50 percentile points higher than students with comparable beginning mathematics scores but who were assigned to a series of three highly ineffective teachers — but I assume you went to school yourself.
Did you see no difference in teacher effectiveness?
And as for schools that defy the odds, take a look at Education Trust, which recognizes high poverty schools every year that do so. And there are APS schools that showed great strides with no classrooms flagged, including Centennial.
Maureen

Dan

August 26th, 2011
10:56 am

Funny how the angles change depending on the perceived reason for the question, if we are talking salary and payment, there is much clamor about the importance of the teacher in “helping our children” when it comes to responsibility the quality of the teacher is “way down the list” the fact is it can’t be both, it either important or its not. I happen to believe its important, I also happen to believe every child cannot have a strong teacher, their simply aren’t enough good teachers to go around like any other profession there are good bad and mediocre, and the number of teachers required to educate our entire population necessarily results in the normal ratios of quality skewing towards bad. Therefore any plan that relies solely on teacher quality is doomed to failure

To Maureen from Good Mother

August 26th, 2011
11:07 am

This particular comment is very well written. I appreciate your logic and your common sense. It is worth repeating…

“The odd thing is that no one would argue your odd position — that the quality of the practitioner doesn’t matter — in any other field. Would you argue that the outcome of a surgery depends solely on the condition and health history of the patient rather than on the skill and experience of the surgeon? Would you argue that a trial’s outcome depends solely on the defendant and has nothing to do with the skill of the defense attorney? Under your logic, teachers make little to no difference so there is no need to reward good ones or seek to improve ineffective ones.”

Touche’

Calling Buffalo Chips

August 26th, 2011
11:18 am

“The odd thing is that no one would argue your odd position — that the quality of the practitioner doesn’t matter — in any other field.”

You know your own the right track when someone is reduced to totally misrepresenting your statements.

Maureen care to point out specifically where I argued the point “the quality of the practitioner doesn’t matter” Please enlighten us. Show us where I wrote that, because that would indeed be an “odd position” and even that using “odd” is just a nice way of saying completely stupid.

But that’s not what people are objecting to Maureen. They are objecting to the “blame teachers first” mentality that says teachers are THE most important factor. Key word THE.

Now that we’ve established the importance of the word THE, I’m sure the list will soon be forthcoming of 90% free and reduced schools that consistently outperform schools with a 10% and below free and reduced lunch rate. After all the teacher is THE most important factor, and there must be at least one school is America, that serves the poor that has a better staff than a school that serves the rich.

Calling Buffalo Chips

August 26th, 2011
11:21 am

Good Mother before you touche` please point out for us where I said, or even implied that the quality of teaching isn’t an important factor.

What is at contention here is not that it’s an important factor, but that it, out of all the factors that influence education is THE most important factor.

So please, point out where it was stated or implied that it is NOT a factor, before you touche` if you want to have your touche` have any credibility.

ELMom

August 26th, 2011
11:23 am

Calling Buffalo Chips, how about Charles Drew Charter school? High % of free and reduced lunch and minority students. The children there are doing very well in fact Drew is the only school in the state to receive a $1m grant from the state. The quality of teachers along with the support of the administration are absolutely crucial and schools like KIPP, Intown Academy, Imagine, Drew (the list goes on) prove this. This is not the minimize the importance of parental involvement. I know parents from APS schools with crappy teachers who have pulled their children out of those schools to attend schools with better quality teachers and guess what? Their children are now excelling. The parents didn’t change nor did their economic circumstances, the teachers did. If you look at the quality of teachers in low income schools and travel across town to higher income schools the disparity between the quality of teachers is clear.

Calling Buffalo Chips

August 26th, 2011
11:23 am

Good Mother, so that you can have your touche` with credibility, please point out where I said or implied that teacher quality was NOT a factor.

The contention here is with the “blame teachers first” mentality that says it’s THE most important factor.

Calling Buffalo Chips

August 26th, 2011
11:28 am

ELMom,

Again no one is saying that the quality of teaching isn’t A factor; not even saying it isn’t a very important factor.

But I just have to ask, as well as those documented successes are, are they running rings around schools like E. Rivers and Morris Brandon in APS?

Speaking of which, here is another simple way to determine the veracity of the statement that teaching quality is THE most important factor. Track those teachers who were at 90% and below free and reduced lunch who transferred to an affluent school.

Since they were THE most important factor, there scores should not show any significant bump when they went to the affluent school correct?

Calling Buffalo Chips

August 26th, 2011
11:34 am

Let’s just get very, very honest with ourselves shall we folks? Let’s say you were offered 10 million dollars if you could get a class to outperform state average. You were given a teacher who was considered excellent by all accounts. And you were told you could place that teacher in a school with 10% and below free and reduced lunch, or 90% and above free and reduced lunch.

$10 million for you if the teacher succeeds. Your choice of school to put the teacher in. Which school do you put the teacher in?

I suspect no one is willing to answer the question, for what it reveals about how much they really believe teacher quality is THE most important factor, not AN important factor.

ELMom

August 26th, 2011
11:37 am

Calling Buffalo Chips, there is no one factor that it “THE” factor in terms of a quality education, I don’t believe anyone said that, but poor teacher quality has killed our schools. K-12 teachers complain about not making enough money and not receiving tenure, but what are they willing to give in exchange? At the university level professors and staffers work for years and continue their higher education for years with no guarantee of tenure or raises. The teach, write, work on additional degrees, sit on multiple panels,hold office hours,manage departmental budgets,attend and are required to present at conferences all year. All on often times the same salaray or less than k-12 educatiors with no guarntee of tenure after 5 or more years of this work.

Calling Buffalo Chips

August 26th, 2011
11:40 am

Well, well, well. Seems like people were willing to attack my position, my misrepresenting my position to say that teaching isn’t an important factor.

But when I clearly state the position is that teaching is not THE most important factor, rather it is one of several factors and ask for evidence that backs the claim that it’s THE most important factor, suddenly the crickets go a chirping.

Interesting.

ELMom

August 26th, 2011
11:41 am

Calling Buffalo Chips, Yes these schools are running circles around more affluent APS schools. I am also not arguing that teacher quality is not THE most important factor. No one has, I just want you to acknowlede that it is an important factor and a link in the chain. Like it or not if one link is broken then things fall apart. Like it or not teachers are an extremely important factor.

Calling Buffalo Chips

August 26th, 2011
11:44 am

ELMom, you’re wrong. Not on everything you say; as you are correct. You are wrong when no one says that the teacher isn’t THE factor.

Beverly Hall said it for years. Maureen parroted it. Look at the top of this blog “Quality of the teaching in the classroom is the most powerful determinant.”

There’s that word again: THE

See acknowledging quality teaching is AN important factor leads us to make sure ALL parts of the puzzle are held accountable. But when it’s stated teachers are THE most important factor, suddenly we start playing the “blame teachers first” game.

THAT is the issue of contention here. Saying that teaching is THE most important factor. And ELMom yes they do indeed say it.