** Also posted here on “Valerie Strauss’ Answer Sheet” in the Washington Post
In three previous posts, I discussed what I’ve begun to call the “trifecta” of teacher-focused education reform talking points:
- Teachers are the most important (in-school) factor affecting achievement;
- Firing the bottom 5-10 percent of teachers will increase our scores to the level of high-performing nations; and
- Providing children with three, four, or five consecutive “top” teachers in a row would close the achievement gap.
Indeed, they are guiding principles behind much of the Obama Administration’s education agenda, as well as the philosophies of high-profile market-based reformers, such as Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee. The talking points have undeniable appeal. They imply, deliberately or otherwise, that policies focused on improving teacher quality in and of themselves can take us a very long way - not all the way, but perhaps most of the way - towards solving all of our education problems.
This is a fantasy.