Personally, I get tired of the knee-jerk teacher bashing that often occurs when people compare U.S. student achievement to that in other countries. It is true that by many measures, U.S. education results lag behind those of other developed nations. But, guess what? There are good reasons for that, and those reasons suggest tangible, attainable solutions for education leaders.
Linda Darling-Hammond writes in To Close the Achievement Gap, We Need to Close the Teaching Gap, “Now we have international evidence about something that has a greater effect on learning than testing: Teaching.”
Take a look at her article, and you’ll see that Darling-Hammond presents a compelling case that—beyond teaching—it’s the context within which we ask teachers to work that is the key to student achievement. She bases her conclusions on the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), recently released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Key influences on student achievement include:
Drawing on TALIS findings, Darling-Hammond suggests:
The reality is that nearly 25 percent of children in the U.S. live in poverty and suffer from all the related stressors. Within this context, it’s up to education leaders to advocate for—and provide—what’s needed.
In the wake of the widespread civil unrest after the killing of George Floyd, the national conversation about the inequities in the educational opportunities provided white students and students of color has been amplified. Due to racial and socioeconomic segregation, Black students, and other students of color, are more likely to attend poorly funded schools. EdBuild, a non-profit focused on fair and equitable school funding, reports that high poverty school districts that predominantly enroll children of color receive on average, $1,600 less per student than the national average. By their calculations, there is a $23,000,000,000 gap between funding for schools that primarily serve high poverty Black students and those that predominantly serve white students. Schools that predominantly serve high poverty white students, only receive $1440 less per student (EdBuild, 2019).
I recognize and admit to having a chip on my shoulder about the field of early childhood education - and, at times, disbelief that others may not see that period of time as the power-packed years in our developmental timeline which can lay the groundwork and set the course for much of the rest of our lives.
Since the coronavirus has disrupted many of our in-person plans, you might be trying to figure out how you can transition in-person coaching to online coaching. Online coaching can open a number of doors for coaches and teachers that might not be an option in face-to-face work.