That clearly needs to change if the new evaluation systems are to have any impact on the quality of the teacher corps.

The study covered four large urban school districts consisting of more than 2,100 schools and nearly a million and half students. It measured about 20,000 teachers by how much academic growth students showed in a given year. On average, the highest-performing teachers — about one-fifth of those studied — helped students learn two to three additional months’ worth of math and reading, compared with the average teacher, and five to six months more compared with low-performing teachers.

The students clearly noticed the difference. In surveys, they were more likely to report that the better teachers cared about them, made learning enjoyable, and did not let them give up on difficult problems. Even so, high-performing teachers said that administrators were often indifferent to their performance, neither rewarding nor praising them. Only about a quarter of the high performers were offered leadership roles in the schools. Many said they were not even encouraged to stay another year. And schools were nearly as likely to offer leadership opportunities to low performers.

In short, most school cultures do not seem to value excellence in teaching or appreciate how difficult it is to achieve. The costs are great: an estimated 10,000 high-performing teachers leave the nation’s 50 largest districts in a year, either for other districts or to exit the profession. That is a heavy loss, but it is especially costly to low-performing school systems that should be strengthening the teacher corps year upon year.

The study offers several recommendations. School systems need to create explicit policies aimed at retaining high performers, and hold principals accountable for creating an environment in which those policies succeed. Schools should offer higher earning potential to excellent teachers early in their careers instead of waiting to reward them years later. And the states should set clear standards for effectiveness, encouraging chronic low performers to leave the system."

Summing Up

Common sense isn't very commonly employed, and that's especially the case with the New York Times editorial page.

That said, if something can't go on forever, it won't. Thus, it's a good sign when even the Times acknowledges that incentives and personal achievement matter, even in government schools.

Maybe this is some kind of broader omen for society finally accepting the need to adopt a meritocracy based system in public education, a system which has long served us well in other fields, but in education fell victim to powerful teachers unions and the government knows best dictates during the past several decades.

Stay tuned. More to say later.

Thanks. Bob.