Friday, December 9, 2011

IT'S THE CULTURE, STUPID

WOW - great, must read article in The Atlantic by Jordan Weissmann, "Everything You Know About Education is Wrong" that talks about a groundbreaking new study by Roland Fryer (a MacArthur Foundation "genius award winner"). The study is called: "Getting Beneath the Veil of Effective Schools: Evidence from New York City" by Will Dobbie and Roland G. Fryer, Jr

"Fryer found that class size, per-pupil spending, and the number of teachers with certifications or advanced degrees had nothing to do with student test scores in language and math.
In fact, schools that poured in more resources actually got worse results"

SHOCKER - though not really because many people have been saying this, it is just good to get the actual data.  So what can really make a difference? 

"Schools that focused on teacher development, data-driven instruction, creating a culture focused on student achievement, and setting high academic expectations consistently fared better."

"Fryer measured school culture in a way no academic before him had. He looked at the number of times teachers got feedback. The number of days students got tutored in small groups. The number of assessments for students. The number of hours students actually spent at their desks. Each correlated with higher student scores.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, schools that claimed a "relentless focus on academic goals" also tended to produce better test scores. Schools that focused on self esteem and emotional health? Not as much. (Sorry Gen Y.)"

As Jeb Bush said, we have to stop thinking that building self-esteem will lead to student success and start realizing that student success builds self-esteem. So very true.

"But Fryer's findings show that money alone isn't enough. Neither are sterling teaching credentials. It's what you do with them that makes a difference for students."

And note that LTF training is about creating a culture focused on much higher student achievement. Culture doesn't change in one day which is why we train over three years. More to come

Education crisis solved just in time for the holidays.  Now let's get it done.