What is the achievement gap?
What have school districts done right and done wrong when it comes to student achievement?
The impact of schools is highly dependent on the quality of teachers within each school. Schools that have been able to hire and retain very effective teachers have done well. But schools that have not done so have lagged. It turns out that we currently do not have generally good teacher evaluation policies and, where good evaluations exist, we seldom use that information to make personnel decisions. The research suggests that this unfortunate situation stops us from the overall improvement that we would like. To be clear, most teachers are effective and should be retained. Moreover, teachers are certainly not responsible for all of the problems of achievement that we see. As noted, teachers are just one element of a child’s learning. On the other hand, we also know that effective teachers can solve many of the achievement problems—i.e., they can be the answer.
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