Great Teachers Make Great Schools

I do not know how many of my readers read Jay Mathews, the education reporter from the Washington Post (a free online publication which requires registration) but you should.

In an article posted on September 1, 2008 Mr. Mathews wrote about schools in Alexandria, Virginia and Washington DC.  He correctly pointed out that “It is not the building, but the teaching which makes schools great.  Under a school-improvement plan in the 1980’s and 1990’s Kansas City, MO., built schools with such amenities as an Olympic-size swimming pool with an underwater viewing room, television and animation studios, a robotics lab, a 25-acre wildlife sanctuary, a zoo and a model United Nations with simultaneous translation capability.  It didn’t work. Poor performance continued.”

When we look to improve our nation’s schools, the obvious isn’t always obvious.  We look to improve our hardware – our buildings, while ignoring that the most precious commodity a school building should have a capable, highly qualified but more importantly, highly effective educators.