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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What research is Vitti looking at? Is he making it up as he goes along?

Do you ever feel like Vitti is like a really smart tenth grader just making things up that sound good? 

"Research indicates this, that the number one factor that influences student achievement — meaning students doing well academically — is teacher quality," Vitti said.    

Not so fast.

It’s true that every child deserves an excellent teacher. Yet, Goldhaber and colleagues have discovered that around 9 percent of variation in student achievement is due to teacher characteristics. About 60 percent of variation is explainable by individual student characteristics, family characteristics, and such variables. All school input combined (teacher quality, class variables, etc.) account for approximately 21 percent of student outcomes.

So called experts say all the time, teacher quality is the number one "in school factor" determining how students do, to which I respond, duh! But the truth is there are much bigger factors out there, poverty anyone? Furthermore  the evidence says merit pay reflects the quality and motivation of the student and not the quality and motivation of the teacher.

I maintain that moving these teachers that have had success at schools with different issues, which I think is a good idea if measures are put in place to assist them, will have no effect unless we put in behavioral and academic supports and as of yet I haven't heard about any of those things. I also maintain that if proper academic and behavioral supports were in place then we wouldn't need to spend millions on transfers but could spend that money instead where it would truly do some good like on guidance counselors, mental health counselors and social workers because often why children act up or do poorly in school has nothing to do with school and on more teachers so we could have smaller classes the one reform with evidence that actually says it works.  

If it sounds like I am frustrated it's because I am. We could really turn things around here in Duval and reach our potential but instead of doing what we should be doing, what the evidence and research says, we're trying pie in the sky solutions based on the guts of wealthy donors and a super either to weak or to uninformed to insist we do things the right way.

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