Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Only the best need apply.

The Economist article on successful schools is certainly eye-opening. There is always a danger in extrapolating data – but there are some solid lessons that McKinsey has developed from their research. First – we must be more selective in getting teachers and we must provide more ongoing training and collaboration for teachers when they get into the classroom.

It is interesting that they did not draw upon Teach For America as an example of selectivity – they currently accepted only 16% of the applicants this year and continue to pull the best into classrooms. Stark contrast to many ed schools who, because of dwindling applications are not so selective.

Selectivity is the key to establishing the profession. Only 38% of the candidates who start our program graduate. In a recent paper, NCTQ noted that in many alternative certification programs - who applies is accepted.

In the face of severe shortages, it is difficult to become more selective. But we must improve the quality of our teachers if we are ever going to improve the quality of the education system as a whole. It has got to start with better overall candidates entering elite programs and receiving better training throughout their careers – but more on that on Thursday.

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