Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Edward L. Glaeser: Want better schools? Hire better teachers

"The clearest result from decades of education research is the importance of teacher quality. My colleague Tom Kane finds that students who are lucky enough to get a teacher in the top quarter of the teacher-quality distribution jump 10 percentile points in the student achievement distribution relative to children who end up with less able teachers. Improving teacher quality has about twice the impact on student outcomes as radically reducing class size."

6 comments:

Jamie said...

I agree with this! I struggled for years with math *I had the same teacher two years in Jr. High* once I got a new teacher I really understood math and began to enjoy it. Not everyone should go into education.

Cameron said...

I feel pretty fortunate to have had mostly good teachers. But I know the damage that a bad teacher can do.

I'm just not entirely sure what the answer is.

Democracy Lover said...

One answer might be paying teachers more. Another might be subsidizing the college education of people who go into teaching as a career.

As long as teachers receive less income from teaching than they could in the private sector, the better equipped candidates will choose a more lucrative career. If a college education is going to saddle the graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in debt, they are unlikely to enter a career path with little chance for advancement.

New York state estimated mean salary for teachers is $52,380. Utah's is $33,430. Median family income in my county in New York is $53,046. Median income in Cache County Utah is $43,837. Hmmmm...

Jamie said...

I plan on going back to school when my youngest is in school. I would love to teach kids after mine are grown up and out of the house. I think most teachers do it for the love of kids rather than the money.

NoSurfGirl said...

yeah... I thought the school vouchers thing would work wonders on this problem (schools would be motivated to hire good teachers and fire bad ones so that parents will want to keep their children at their school) but unfortunately it didn't pass...

sigh. We have to do something about our schools, though. Right now, my plan is to homeschool until high school. I don't want my kid to learn to hate learning.

Cameron said...

Surf, I didn't have you pegged as a voucher supporter. I voted for it too, and Doug and I had some good disagreements over it.

I too thought it would help with teacher improvement, as well as cutting the massive capital costs we're going to have in the near future.