So, what makes a great school great?
It may come a shock to some, but according to an advisor to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and current highly paid consultant to American government agencies, it’s… wait for it:
“What have all the great school systems of the world got in common?” he said, ticking off four systems that he said deserved to be called great, in Finland, Singapore, South Korea and Alberta, Canada. “Four systems, three continents – what do they have in common?
“They all select their teachers from the top third of their college graduates, whereas the U.S. selects its teachers from the bottom third of graduates. This is one of the big challenges for the U.S. education system: What are you going to do over the next 15 to 20 years to recruit ever better people into teaching?”
Yes, what are you going to do? I’d bet better pay and better training are both pretty far down the list. However, we could have a nice awards program instead.
In addition to his rather obvious conclusion, Sir Michael also believes No Child Left Behind to be “an outstanding law, perhaps one of the most important pieces of education legislation in American history”.
And then goes on to say that NCLB “depends much too often on quite crude tests and one year’s data”.
But it is outstanding.
Ok. Bring in the next highly paid consultant.
Why is it that what is so obvious us it so unclear to American bureaucrats?
I couldn’t agree more with you here.
I hate to say I take offense to it, because really, who cares what I think. But, my two cents say I graduated magna cum laude with my education degree, and it’s just a bit pompous for him to assume the only teachers who get jobs here are the ones who didn’t do so hot. I’m not saying our education system is perfect (far from it), but we’ve got some incredible teachers out there doing it because they love it and it’s something they’re good at.
There is much to take offense with in the way many of our leaders talk about teachers. Certainly there are some poor teachers (and administrators) who should be fired on the spot. But there are also many good ones and the vast majority are doing the best job they can with the tools they’re given.
However, our politicians and other critics of public education tend to lump all teachers and all schools into the same bucket, all of them failures or headed that direction. That seems to be one of the founding philosophies of NCLB.