Holding Teachers Accountable

History has shown that you can throw huge amounts of money at schools and it will only mildly affect students’ learning. What makes the difference are highly qualified, highly effective teachers.

We need to higher and recognize and reward exceptional teachers and we need to identify mediocre teachers at each and every school and either retrain them or encourage them to find new employment. I frequently ask teachers at my workshops, if there are any teachers at their school who they would not put their children into their classrooms. The response is overwhelmingly positive. Yet we allow these individuals to teach without being given the proper support and training.

I am not suggesting comparing teachers at suburban or high performing inner-city schools with teachers working in “dropout factories”. Rather I am asking that we compare teachers to teachers within the same school. And the comparison data should be for a number of years not just one year. Exceptional teachers work with existing conditions and overcome their challenges. Mediocre teachers blame everything but themselves. They blame the background of their students, the lack of funding, the student’s parents, and their community that the student comes from.

If exceptional teachers in each school are recognized and rewarded with extra funds and given time to provide training to the mediocre teachers in each school, I believe that we will see a rapid improvement in schools.