Opportunity at the Top: How America's Best Teachers Could Close the Gaps, Raise the Bar, and Keep our Nation Great
Bryan Hassel and Emily Hassel
What if we could close the achievement gap in five years? The Hassels think it can be done and in this paper they explain how. It builds upon their earlier report, 3X For All, which explained how we could take better advantage of the 800,000 or so most effective teachers by extending their reach (number of children served) and touch (direct interaction with students). But while that one explained how to do that—mostly through expanded use of technology—this report explains what would happen if we did. The top 25 percent of teachers typically advance their students through a full six months more material during the course of a year than the average teacher, and as much as a year more material than a bottom quartile teacher (in whose classroom students would lose ground). Thus every two years a child spends with a top quartile teacher typically yield three years of academic growth. The average black student is two years behind a white peer. So, if you put that black student in a top quartile teacher’s classroom for four years in a row, you have eliminated the achievement gap. Five years and the black student is ahead of the curve. Unfortunately, the way we recruit, compensate, and evaluate teachers makes this nigh impossible. The Hassels explain this in considerable detail, but they stop short of saying how to actually eradicate such counterproductive practices from the system. Still, acknowledging that they exist is part of the battle. Read it here.
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