What doesn’t explain US education outcomes

Really liked this post from Amanda Ripley summing up all the reasons that do not explain educational outcomes in the US relative to other nations:

2. Class Sizes

Around the world, class sizes are not predictive of education results. In the U.S., small class sizes seem to be better for very young students, but as usual, it depends on the teacher and the principal.

3. Time in School

Despite popular belief, most U.S. schools require at least as much instructional timeas schools in other countries. The quality of that time matters more than the quantity. I have seen a lot of time wasted in schools all over the world…. More time may be useful, particularly for kids from low-income families, but only if that time is used wisely (i.e. by giving teachers more time to watch strong teachers teach).

4. School Choice

Around the world, there is no clear relationship between the amount of school choice and competition and students’ performance on a test of critical thinking in math, reading and science. In fact, if anything, school choice seems to be related to greater levels of segregation in some countries.

Here again, the quality of choices appears to matter more than the existence of choices. So investing in the supply of great teachers and principals seems to be more effective than relying on parental demand.

So what matters?  Challenging our students (Common Core anyone?) and investing far more in good teachers:

So what does matter, now that we’ve covered what doesn’t? Rigor matters: the work that kids do, the quality of teacher training, the seriousness of the entire system. That matters in every time zone.

There is more than one way to get rigor, of course. In my experience, the best approaches start at the beginning–focusing on how teachers get selected and coached, how principals are developed and chosen, and how schools and parents work together to challenge all kids to think for themselves.

 

Advertisements

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: