No Shortcut to Good Teaching

By Liana Loewus — December 08, 2008 1 min read
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The Brownsville Independent School District, this year’s recipient of the $1 million Broad Foundation prize for helping close the achievement gap, might just have the answer to school reform, thinks Barnett Berry.

So why do the policy pundits continue to trumpet the need for short-cut alternative pathways to teaching, when the award-winning school district points to its partnership with the University of Texas at Brownsville as the major source of effective teachers? . . . Brownsville teachers are not recruited from high-brow East coast universities, nor do they carry their own chart-busting test scores into their classrooms. Brownsville teachers are from the community.

And, according to Berry, these well-prepared, mostly bilingual teachers are sticking around. The district boasts a meager three-percent turnover rate per year.

Maybe cultural competence, not just one’s SAT score, needs to be a primary teacher recruitment criterion.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Blogboard blog.