Opinion
Education Opinion

Teacher Quality

By LeaderTalk Contributor — February 25, 2009 1 min read

If you have not read the McKinsey report - How the world’s best performing school systems come out on top - you need to download and read it!!!! What you will find is a lot of influence from Michael Fullan and other international education thinkers.

Bottom line - school outcomes will be no better than the quality of your teachers.The evidence on this has come from Boston, Dallas, Tennessee, Marzano’s research, Sanders research, and from all OECD countries. Two consecutive years with a low quality teacher and it is almost impossible for children to recover.

What are the three things that the world’s best school systems do?

1 - improve the quality of teachers entering schools of education
2 - improve the quality of instruction
3 - ensure that every child has access to high quality instruction

As always, the devil is in the details of how nations do these three things. While somewhat different in approaches, the top performing countries limit the number of applicants who can enter schools of ed, they recruit from the top 10% of high school graduation classes, and they guarantee a good starting salary.

For improving instruction, the strategies usually include more application based training (internships) during the 5th year of a degree program, instructional coaches in schools, just-in-time professional development on high yield instructional strategies, and learning from peer teachers.

For ensuring access to high quality instruction, the strategies usually center around strong standards, formative assessments, strong instructional leaders, interventions at school, teacher and student levels, and strong accountability systems with tons of feedback loops.

Everything sounds familiar and we in the US know how to do all of these things. Why don’t we have more deployment of these strategies? The KNOWING and DOING gap.

Terry Holliday

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