“Teacher quality and engagement matters more to student achievement than any other aspect of a school.”
This insight was published by Rand Education (Rand.org/education/projects/measuring-teacher-effectiveness/teachers-matter.html), and quoted by:
- Scott Barron on SchoolGrowth.com
- The Center for Public Education’s statement on teacher quality and student achievement;
- A text published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) titled “Seven Engagement Factors” (www.ascd.org); and
- In an article at EducationNext.org titled “In Schools, Teacher Quality Matters Most” (www.educationnext.org/in-schools-teacher-quality-matters-most-coleman/).
Since this key quality is paramount regardless of whether or not the school is a private school, a public school or a faith-based school, then the question of needing money to attract highly-qualified teachers is moot.
So is it a question of allowing teachers to have more professional development experiences to form them into quality teachers, and does attitude and motivation drive engagement?
May I suggest that it’s all these things, and more, since all these things create the “experience” of the educational environment…and that includes expectations. Unfortunately, as in practically any business venture today, the expectations of administration are usually highly unrealistic. As “we know what” rolls downhill, more and more of it is heaped upon the people at the bottom areas of any inclined construct. As more and more tasks, expectations, and demand for immediate results continue to be micro-managed, and employees continue to be scrutinized under a microscopic lens, how will teachers balance their love of teaching and seeing the spark of knowledge kindled in their students with all the administrative tedium that drives metrics essential to governmental funding entities that, in the case of local school boards, usually have no experience in educational administration nor curricular pedagogy? If money is necessary to bring about higher achievement levels, then how will the community react to raising taxes to provide for an environment of the academic excellence which is expected by today’s workplace? How will private schools generate the needed revenue, since more and more tuition-paying parents are saying the need additional financial assistance to keep their children enrolled in the educational environment they believe is best for their student?
Communities need to start thinking systemically rather than myopically focusing only on one issue, thinking a “silver bullet” solution exists, and then reinventing the wheel to seek out another one when the implemented one fails. All that will succeed in doing is breaking the spirit of the enthusiastic teacher, and create either an apathetic one, or one that leaves the profession and find one where dedication meets innovation and motivation, resulting in the sense of accomplishment and enthusiasm that their professors said their actions would bring to the world.