Everybody loves a good infographic (even you wonky researchers – just wait ‘til nobody’s looking), and we hope this one will change how you view education reform efforts.
For word nerds, here’s a summary:
- Our nation is falling behind globally as other nations provide increasingly rigorous and widespread education to their people. No surprises there.
- It’s not hard to see why: In contrast to educationally high-performing nations, ours is not selective about who teaches our children. As a result, schools cannot provide the kind of autonomy that great teachers crave. They just can’t have confidence that most teaching professionals will self- lead the rigor-and-innovation infused school cultures great teachers want and students need.
- But excellent teachers literally make all the difference for kids who rely on school for learning opportunity. The top 20-25 percent produce about a half year more learning progress than solid teachers, on average. A child who starts one year behind can catch up in two years and then become an honors student two years later if the child has excellent teachers four years running. A student who starts stuck in the middle can become an honors student, and then excel like top international peers, with the same run of excellent teachers. In contrast, students who have good, solid teachers every year, or the usual distribution, end up where they started compared to peers.
- Yet only 25% of classes are taught by excellent teachers, ones who achieve this level of student growth on average and who develop students’ higher-order thinking with similar skill. That means 75% of classrooms, and the students in them, are left out.
- What can be done? How about extending the reach of excellent teachers to more students, effectively putting them in charge of all U.S. classrooms and every student? But how?