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ERIC Number: EJ918880
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Feb
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0013-127X
How to Fix Our Schools
Rothstein, Richard
Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, v76 n6 p32-37 Feb 2011
Joel Klein, chancellor of the New York City public school system, and Michelle Rhee, who resigned October 13 as Washington, DC, chancellor, published a "manifesto" in the "Washington Post" claiming that the difficulty of removing incompetent teachers "has left school districts impotent and, worse, has robbed millions of children of a real future." The solution, they say, is to end the "glacial process for removing an incompetent teacher" and give superintendents like themselves the authority to pay higher salaries to teachers whose students do well academically. Klein, Rhee, and the 14 other school superintendents who co-signed their statement base this call on a claim that, "as President Obama has emphasized, the single most important factor determining whether students succeed in school is not the color of their skin or their ZIP code or even their parents' income--it is the quality of their teacher." Decades of social science research have demonstrated that differences in the quality of schools can explain about one-third of the variation in student achievement. But the other two-thirds is attributable to non-school factors. The author argues that making teacher quality the only centerpiece of a reform campaign distracts one's attention from other equally and perhaps more important school areas needing improvement. It distracts one from the biggest contemporary threat to student achievement: the unprecedented economic catastrophe and its effect on parents and their children's ability to gain from higher-quality schools. The author contends that it would inappropriately undermine the credibility of public education if, in such an economic climate, educators were blamed for their failure to raise achievement of disadvantaged children. The author points out that Klein, Rhee, and other superintendents who signed their manifesto should raise their voices in protest against economic policies that doom children to failure.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A