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Teachers Matter, But So Do Words


To be more accurate, their quote should have included some component of student growth. That is, the most important factor in determining student growth is the teacher. This takes into account that students come from all kinds of backgrounds and abilities. While the student context is certainly an important consideration to take into account, it's equally or more important that we never let that become an excuse for doing all we can to help kids. Thanks much for this piece - its certainly an important consideration in considering teacher effects. Jason Glass Columbus, OH

Dale Ballou from Vanderbilt, Bill Sanders (who invented value-added modeling), and Paul Wright from SAS wrote on this issue in 2004 as well. I quote: "Although there is evidence that virtually all students, even those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can succeed in the right educational environment, it is much more difficult to raise the achievement of disadvantaged children to the new standards. Holding teachers and administrators accountable for student outcomes without regard for differences in students' backgrounds is manifestly unfair and, in the long run, counter-productive. Such policies will alienate educators, making it more difficult to staff schools serving the neediest population. The perception that educators are being held accountable for student achievement without due regard for factors beyond their control may ultimately discredit the standards movement itself." Jason Glass Columbus, OH



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