Published Online: July 21, 2005

Report Roundup

Study Shows What Parents Want From Teachers

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Parents of students in high-poverty elementary schools tend to have far different expectations for teachers than parents of students in low-poverty elementary schools, a research study concludes.

The study—conducted by Brian A. Jacob of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and Lars Lefgren of Brigham Young University’s department of economics—found that higher-income parents strongly prefer teachers that principals describe as good at promoting student satisfaction, and put less stock in a teacher’s ability to raise standardized-test scores. Low-income parents, in contrast, strongly value teachers who raise test scores, but care little about a principal’s report of a teacher’s ability to make students feel satisfied.

The paper was based on data that included the number of parent requests for individual teachers in a midsize district in the Western United States where about half the children are from families living under the poverty line.

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