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Posted at 12:46 PM ET, 11/20/2010

Why teaching experience really matters

By Valerie Strauss

Bill Gates, who appears to be running for shadow education secretary, just urged states and school districts to pay teachers according to “value-added based” merit systems that inevitably use standardized test scores to judge how well a teacher is doing, despite criticisms that there is no evidence such systems work.

Experience in teaching doesn’t matter much, nor do advanced education degrees, Gates said in a speech to the Council of Chief State School Officers' annual policy forum in Louisville on Friday.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan made the same argument about advanced education degrees two days earlier in a speech, and many times previously had backed eliminating experience as a criterion for judging and compensating teachers.

(In their speeches this week, both men called for districts to consider raising class size. A coincidence, no doubt.)

Actually, experience in the classroom does matter.

The following was written by Matthew Di Carlo, senior fellow at the non-profit Albert Shanker Institute, located in Washington, D.C. This post originally appeared on the institute’s blog.

By Matthew Di Carlo
The topic of teacher experience is getting a lot of attention in education debates. In part, this makes sense, since experience (years of service) does play several important roles in education policy, including teachers’ raises and transfer/layoff policies.

Usually, experience is discussed in terms of its relationship to performance –whether more experienced teachers produce larger student test score gains than less experienced teachers. There is a pretty impressive body of research on this topic, the findings of which are sometimes used to argue for policy changes that eliminate the role of experience in salary and other employment policies. Proponents of these changes often argue that experience is only weakly related to performance, and therefore shouldn’t be used in determining salary and other conditions of work. It is not unusual to hear people say that experience doesn’t matter at all.

As is often the case when empirical research finds its way into policy debates, the “weakly related” characterization of the findings on the experience/achievement relationship borders on oversimplification, while the claim that experience doesn’t matter is flat-out wrong. The relationship is substantial but context-dependent, and blanket statements about it often hide as much as they reveal.

The dozens of analyses of teacher experience show that it matters a great deal in the early years on the job (also see here, here, here and here). There is general consensus that the returns to experience are strongest in the first year of teaching. Then the rate of improvement starts to level off quickly – usually stagnating within about 4-5 years (time frames vary a bit). After that, most teachers tend to remain relatively stable in terms of their effects on student test scores (though a very large proportion leaves the profession before that point).

But these overall findings ignore the fact that the experience/achievement relationship differs a great deal by context. For instance, the returns to experience appear to vary by where teachers work. The relationship is more consistent among elementary school teachers (especially compared with those in high schools). The effect of experience on teacher productivity may also be mediated by the quality of their peers in the same school – i.e., that novice teachers with more effective peers in the same school do better.

Similarly, there is evidence that experience matters less – or less consistently – in poorer schools (also see here). There are several plausible explanations for this discrepancy, such as the possibility that teachers in poorer schools burn out more rapidly, or that there are difficulties in teaching lower-income children that are harder to adjust to.

The experience factor not only varies by where you teach, but also by what you teach. Math teachers seem to improve more quickly (and consistently) than reading teachers, while newer evidence suggests that the same is true for teachers who remain in the same grade for multiple years.

Finally, it bears mentioning the obvious point that the effect of teacher experience might be totally different if we were able to look at outcomes other than test scores. The idea that experience doesn’t matter after five or so years incorrectly implies that test scores are the only relevant outcome. Nobody believes that is the case. (And, for what it’s worth, teachers with whom I’ve spoken find the idea that they stop improving after four or five years laughable.)

Teachers who produce test score gains are not always the same ones who are effective at imparting other types of skills. It seems quite plausible (if not probable) that teachers do exhibit longer-term improvement in their students’ learning other skills, such as social/behavioral skills, that elude standardized tests. Let’s also keep in mind that it remains an open question whether the returns to experience follow a similar pattern among teachers not in tested grades or subjects (which is roughly three in four teachers).

That said, experience is actually one of the very few observable teacher characteristics that is consistently correlated with achievement, and its effect is among the strongest, especially for some sub-groups, such as elementary school and math teachers.

Even those who think the magnitude of these returns is not commensurate with the role of experience in education policy cannot dispute that it is still a proven signal of quality, at least during the early years of teachers’ careers. And it is virtually certain that teachers also improve in other ways that don’t show up in their students’ test scores.

So, unless we are going to design employment policies based strictly on test scores (which is both ridiculous and logistically impossible), we might recalibrate these policies to exploit the findings above, including using other measures along with experience, restructuring salary schedules, keeping teachers in the same grade over multiple years, or paying more attention to the important role of peers in shaping teachers’ learning curves.

Let’s tone down the rhetoric, and try not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.


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By Valerie Strauss  | November 20, 2010; 12:46 PM ET
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Matthew Di Carlo, Teacher assessment, Teachers  | Tags:  arne duncan, bill gates, class size, does experience matter, education department, education secretary duncan, lowering class size, raising class size, research on class size, research on teaching experience, school reform, schools, shankar blog, standardized tests, teacher experience, teacher pay, teacher quality, teacher salaries, teachers, teaching experience, value added  
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Comments

Valerie,
OF course teaching experience matters. That doesn't mean however, that compensation should be based solely on that experience. Let's take journalism. What happens to journalists who can't write or have little motivation to produce a high quality product? Do they stick around? Do they currently earn the same pay check as you? What if they did? What if no matter how hard you were willing to work, or no matter the qaulity of the product you produced, there were similar journalists doing simply enough just to get by. What if that was just say 10% of all journalists, but it was just enough to remind you that everday these same people who come late and leave early will get the same paycheck as you no matter what it is you do. Now let's say, they leave early to go coach a sports team. They make an extra 3 grand every 3 months on top of you make, BECAUSE they leave early. Soon, that 10% of ho-hum journalists becomes 11% then 12% then 15%. THe best journalists begin to ask themselves if this is worth it. Football coaches quickly decide they'd love to be a journalist. And there you have it. Welcome to the world of seniority based pay. I resent this culture. And I know alot of others who do too.

Posted by: mmccabe4724 | November 20, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Bill Gates needs to stay out of the education conversation...a perfect example of someone who thinks just because they have made a lot of money they are an expert...in this case education. His, and Arne Duncan's, lack of understanding as to what affects public schools and teacher effectiveness is a perfect example of why experience does matter.

In what profession does a client or customer want the least experienced of the group? Not physician's or a surgeon. Not attorney's. Not accountant's. Not a car mechanic. Not a waitress. Not a construction worker. Not a teller at the bank. None. Nowhere.

As far as the data, there are some traits of a good teacher that comes with experience that cannot be quantified. Since when does more knowledge not mean more respect?

Anyone who takes these two clowns seriously must think that when hirng teachers, all HR has to do is go out to the busiest street in the community, stop all cars, and ask the drivers if they are interested in teaching school.

Sorry...but Gates and Duncan have worn out their welcome. I use to admire Gates...and gave Duncan the benefit of doubt...but not anymore...I don't care what Gates did to earn his billion's or where Duncan came from and who he knows. There are a lot of genius' out there with no common sense.

I'm just one person, but they have become a joke and lost all credibility with me.

Posted by: ilcn | November 20, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Bill Gates may know plenty about computers and business, but as regards education, he is a nit-wit.

(If you have ever combed through the hair of a child with lice for the almost microscopic
nits, the term has profound meaning.)

Most 'highly effective'/great teachers I have known will be the first to admit that they didn't start out that way.

Posted by: PLMichaelsArtist-at-Large | November 20, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Some more great minds that promote the idea that advanced degrees and experience do not enhance teacher effectiveness. I sometimes wonder what planet these folks are from. Naturally, they do not enhance effectiveness that is measured as specific data points. In my view someday all that sort of stuff will be taught by computer or android anyway. What "effective" human teachers do, mostly by example, is teach other humans how to approach life and specific problems of life in a human way, and the probability of ever developing a computer or android that can accomplish this task is essentially zero. With this in mind then, I would say knowledge of subject, years of experience, advanced degrees, foreign travel, tragedy, joy, failure, success, love, humor, etc are typical imperative experiences of any great teacher. The fact that we have some huge group of supposedly educated people attempting to determine how many math and reading data points will fit on the head of a pin, and at the same time proposing that human education and experience are not important for effective teaching is almost beyond belief.

Posted by: bpeterson1931 | November 20, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

To mmccabe4724:
First: Compensation should not depend on how many hours one stays at school. If that were the case, K-12 teachers would be making more than college professors. Some people are more organized than others. I know plenty of teacher's who stay late...but they are generally disorganized and spend a lot of time talking....even with the night custodial staff.

Next...I am an elementary art teacher. I see kids for 40 minutes every week, except kindergarten, that I see once a week for 30 minutes. They don't remember where they sit. They can't remember the directions from one week to the next...and many don't even remember my name. What should I be paid or receive a raise for achieving? All the Picasso's I've developed? Especially when I constantly hear...."My parent's don't care what I make in art."

Posted by: ilcn | November 20, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

TIme was an example. Compensation should be based on quality and responsibiltiy and leadership. Not just seniority. The writer of this article might actually agree with me though it's not quite clear what he means to incinuate in his last paragraph.

Posted by: mmccabe4724 | November 20, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

To mmccabe4724:

If a person qualified for a job in journalism (presumably, earned a degree in journalism or English, competed for a position, and was ultimately hired) -- who then determines that this journalist "can't write" or doesn't produce a "high quality" product? These are subjective criteria and evaluators would be at odds.

The application of your analogy to education is illogical. Students are not products. All teachers are able to teach. Gates is discussing degrees of ability and relating teacher quality to test scores. Strauss, via Di Carlo, is proving that ability/quality is often a function of experience. And every teacher, parent and student knows that test scores are not a complete picture of educational growth or teacher influence.

If you advocate the use of objective, but incomplete, test data in evaluating educators, you cannot then compare it to a subjective determination by someone that a journalist "can't write" (without coming across as sophomoric.)

Posted by: showmethedata | November 20, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

RE: ilcn's comment that some teachers "..spend a lot of time talking....even with the night custodial staff."

If I were scoring your writing I would fail you for being off-topic. The topic is compensating teachers for advanced course work not how many hours they stay on campus during their tenure.

And Heaven forbid we should treat people as human beings and "even talk to the custodial staff." Often the custodians know more about what's really going on in a school than some teachers do. When I am at school I am in people mode for the most part. I do most of my planning and grading at home because truly engaging with people takes undivided attention. Teaching is primarily about interacting with other human beings and yes even the custodians should feel like they're valued members of the team. Try a week without them and see what your classroom looks like.

Posted by: stevendphoto | November 20, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Let's borrow from efavorite's and edlharris's brainy suggestion to assign the most effective teachers to the weakest schools.

Rather, let's assign the most experienced teachers to the weakest schools, e.g., Wards 7 and 8. Let's not do it on the basis of Impact ratings.

And let's not study this to death, or let the union contract or pesky DCPS rules get in the way of achieving some real positive impacts quickly.

Posted by: axolotl | November 20, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Show me the data-

I advocate multiple and robust measures of teacher effectiveness that may or may include value added measures. I advocate this in place of a seniority system that rewards length of service irregardless of effectiveness. The Center for Teaching Qauality does a pretty good job of putting together something that I could get behind. Or perhaps their ideas are just as sophomoric as mine. http://www.teachingquality.org/tsp4p

Posted by: mmccabe4724 | November 20, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

To stevendphoto....I was responding to a statement contained in mmccabe4724's post.
Instead of criticizing...perhaps you should stick to the topic.

Posted by: ilcn | November 20, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I wish that Obama had played more chess and less basketball with Arne Duncan before he chose him to become the Secretary of Education.

Posted by: teacher39years | November 20, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

re teacher39years:

Sadly, I think Arne Duncan is in way over his head; the power people like Gates appear to be calling the shots, and I don't mean as in basketball.

Posted by: PLMichaelsArtist-at-Large | November 20, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Experience does matter, but only when the experienced teacher is receptive to new ideas that promote student achievement. It amazes me to see how close-minded teachers can be, novice and experienced, thinking that their way of teaching is the best way. It frustrates me, as an educator, when my colleageus continue to be sceptics to anything that is new and research-based. For example, the Common Core. When used as the vehicle to drive curriculum, student achievement improves (based on our common formative assessments). I am not in favor of linking test scores to teaching salaries. I am in favor of linking improved teacher performance through a specific set of standards that are research-based that does improve the achievement of our youth. http://core4all.wordpress.com

Posted by: core4all | November 20, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

To ilcn, RE: your response to mmccabe4724,

I was critiquing your philosophy more than anything else.
But since you got me started, here's a critique of your logic.

Your response to mmccabe4724 ("First: Compensation should not depend on how many hours one stays at school. If that were the case, K-12 teachers would be making more than college professors. ") treats his analogy in concrete instead of abstract terms.

And your statement that "I know plenty of teacher's who stay late...but they are generally disorganized and spend a lot of time talking....even with the night custodial staff." is a generalization.

And it appears that your arguing against mmccabe4724's assertions, when I believe that you actually agree with him. He begins by saying, "OF course teaching experience matters. That doesn't mean however, that compensation should be based solely on that experience." Isn't that what you're espousing when you say, "Compensation should not depend on how many hours one stays at school." Mccabbe4724 is arguing against basing pay solely on experience. It seems that is what you're arguing too, isn't it?

At any rate, I still think you're comment about talking to the custodial staff was rather classicist. That's what prompted my first response. And I still don't think you comments reflect an understanding of the topic at hand. You may actually understand the topic, but that's not demonstrated by your responses.


Posted by: stevendphoto | November 20, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

core4all wrote: Experience does matter, but only when the experienced teacher is receptive to new ideas that promote student achievement.
________________________
I agree with you here. I think being receptive to new ideas and being willing to try new things has nothing to do with experience. I think that some people just have those traits and some don't. In my 35 years of teaching, I've seen teachers of all experience levels who were simply inflexible whereas others are willing to try anything to get their students to achieve more. Unfortunately being inflexible has been only associated with older teachers for some reason and this is very frustrating. I simply hate seeing older teachers referred to as dead wood. I will say, as an older teacher, that sometimes some of us are resistant to "new" things because they aren't new at all. I've seen more educational fads come and go than I care to remember at this point. Sometimes something "new" is really something old that was tried, determined to be ineffective, abandoned then brought back and renamed. Experience comes in handy in weeding through all the different strategies and methods that are constantly thrown at us. It is through experience that I've learned what not to waste valuable instructional time doing and what things actually give me the biggest bang for the buck so to speak.

Posted by: musiclady | November 20, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Having taught at all levels of education I find it demeaning for people who have never been in a classroom or been connected to the teacher in the classroom to say that experience does not matter. It is imperative that those people go to a school where there are new teachers and experienced teachers and see just how they instruct and adjust when dealing with live children. Ignorance for facts will not improve education nor truly bring our children the education that is possible and so important to their futures. Much of learning is incidental arranged with instruction. Bring in accomplished teachers who can teach and watch kids learn!!

Posted by: rabraning | November 20, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

As rabraning says, "Much of learning is incidental arranged with instruction. Bring in accomplished teachers who can teach and watch kids learn!!"

Very true.

Experienced teachers know how to lead students to answers and connections that are deeper than the superficial lesson at hand. The connections made on the fly may or may not stick, as some students are being exposed to new ideas for the first time while others are receiving reinforcement, and surely will not be measurable by any object assessment designed to determine the value-add that a teacher's experience has had in student achievement.

Posted by: stevendphoto | November 20, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

So education will become the only profession in which advanced education is not encouraged.

It might be hard to get the top people in teaching if they think further education for themselves will be frowned upon. Also it won't help to tell them that they will have a career of 4-5 years and be expected to leave just when they are hitting their stride, to be replaced by newbees with no comparable level of skill.

It's hard to imagine this system being good for the kids.

It sure will help teacher recruiting firms, though.

Posted by: efavorite | November 21, 2010 12:36 AM | Report abuse

The career "ladder" in public education is flawed. Leaving the classroom for administrative jobs is seen as advancing. More pay follows, as does a title that somehow (and wrongly IMO). Take Jason Kamras, for example. He was by all accounts a great teacher in a low-income school. He gets plucked out and offered a Teacher Capital something or other and suddenly he is influencing what teachers are doing in over 100 schools, including schools he doesn't understand because he lacks experience in those types of schools. His IMPACT is creating a huge morale issue in high functioning schools where his prescriptive remedies are not needed. It would be nice if someone with a "pen" would scrutinize Kamras and the negative impact he and his team is making in some schools.

Winning Teacher of the Year in a low-income school does not qualify someone to have influence over every school in the District.

Posted by: thetensionmakesitwork | November 21, 2010 6:07 AM | Report abuse

If you look at the websites of most high-end private schools, their "selling points" include the number of faculty with advanced degrees in their field, the marvelous facilities, and the very small class sizes -- you know, all the things we're told don't matter in the public schools.

Why do they matter for the children of the "movers and shakers" but not for the children of everyone else? Think about it.

Posted by: HSTchr | November 21, 2010 7:16 AM | Report abuse

ilcn - Education is not the right profession for you and my stomach turned at your comments. We need collaborative players that support one another not judge. We need professionals that create a community, and communicate with everyone regardless of their position.
bpeterson193- I agree with what you said. Teachers bring in to the classroom what they've experienced in the world and the students take to the world what they experience in school. It is symbiotic.
Experience being the key word.
I teach upper level math in a big, busy high school, there is tremendous pressure.
Teachers that are teaching the same classes as myself are there early and stay late, at this time of the year we are coming in when it is dark and leaving when it is dark. There is true collaboration occurring as we plan common assessments, white board presentations and pace the curriculum. Everyday we have to hit the mark or students fall behind, both students who are testing at State level and students who are going off to college. We have kids in our room getting extra help because our subject matter is difficult. I've taught 25 years and when working with less experienced teachers I can see ways I can cut to the chase and offer ideas that come with experience. I also get good ideas from younger teachers that have a fresh perspective. What has kept me in the profession is not money, but I should be paid an adequate salary that reflects my experience and education. There should also be money for inservice. To say education doesn't matter for teachers is an oxymoron.
Bill Gates and Arne Duncan have no experience in the field of education and their perspective is hurting our students.
Obama and Bush are on the same page, merit pay, charter schools and privatization of the public sector.
Because I am close to retirement I will not stop fighting for the future of my profession.
Everyday I am thankful for Valerie Strauss for helping teachers who are too complacent to help themselves.

Posted by: ananna | November 21, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

When I had cataract surgery, I trusted my surgeon because he had performed thousands of the operation and likely had encountered as many complications as could possibly occur. He also kept up on the latest research and innovations. To suggest experience doesn't matter in teaching or any other profession for that matter is absurd.

Posted by: buckbuck11 | November 21, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

To ananna and stevendphoto

You greatly misinterpreted my point. I do, however, apologize for being so inarticulate. I have posted on this site many times and at no time have I ever been accused of whatever you are accusing me of nor have I ever given the impression, overtly or otherwise, that I am a "classicist." If anything, I have fought for teachers and other school employee's my whole career to the point of being "punished" by my administration.

But I don't have to defend myself to you or anyone else, because what is more troublesome is that a person evidently can't openly discuss an issue without being called names and accused of "turning someone's stomach." That, in and of itself, is elitist and biased. In classroom discussion's, do you cut off your students when they disagree with you no matter how offensive? Maybe your comment's say more about you...than me.

Posted by: ilcn | November 21, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

ilcn:

The responses to your comments have been far from personal attacks. The Washington Post says that they "encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features." I have to infer that that extends to user comments as well.

Students don't have to agree with me, but I will challenge their opinions and encourage them to back up their assertions. You asserted (implicitly) that talking to the custodial staff has no value. I disagree.

Open discussion requires debate not the lack of debate.

Posted by: stevendphoto | November 21, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

to stevendphoto

I never, ever said the custodial staff had "no value." My point was, in reference rightly or wrongly, that staying late should not be a justification to measure teacher effectiveness. And far too many people use that to compare who is a good teacher to who is a bad teacher. My point lends itself to a discussion of why we don't get overtime and one reason why merit pay would be a bad idea. Some teacher's keep track of when other teacher's leave and how many papers they have in their bag. If you think this doesn't go on, you're naiive.

Keeping score is not "colleague" friendly. That is not respect for a profession....for what I do vs. what you do. That is not respect for our differences...as does nothing to further our teaching and learning.

There are many teachers who stay late (as in 10:00 p.m.) and who are the last one's left, besides the custodians, who, btw, leave at 11:00. They have spent their whole planning time talking and complaining and they spend their after school time talking and complaining...and then they tell everyone how late they stayed....and moan and groan because some teachers actually leave before they do or even worse, before they do....and empty handed. This is being a martyr...and the teaching profession needs to purge itself of the victim characterization if we want people to take us seriously. And I don't care whether you agree.

I was trying to provide an example of teachers who often stay late...and I've seen it over and over again. Maybe an examinatin of why some people need to stay late day after day would be in order. There are many people who don't or can't stay late for legitimate reason's. I was not denigrating custodians...thank God for their help...and as an art teacher no one, no one, is any more aware of that than I am.

I respectfully disagree with your characterization of the response's. And I am offended by your insistence to characterize me as some sort of bigot. And have to ask, why?

The end.

Posted by: ilcn | November 21, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

my recollection is that ilcn has a long history of making worthwhile comments on educational issues.

Posted by: efavorite | November 21, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

It is way past the time when Obama needs to cut his losses and fire Duncan. Diane Ravitch for U.S. Secretary of Education!

Posted by: lacy41 | November 21, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

When Bill Gates next uses the New York Times and addresses those with an MBA, a medical degree, a law degree, and etc. and suggests that they will be paid only at the batchelors level, then I'll think Gates is not being self-serving. He should stop the pontificating.
And, his underlying false assumptions that advanced degrees and experience in the classroom make no difference in a child's life belies his ignorance of what educators do daily. Perhaps we can take up a collection to send Gates our dog-eared copies of our Marzano books so he can read some researched based evidence on student achievement and the development of effective teachers. Effective doctors, lawyers, business owners, chess masters, and teachers develop over time with persistant use of best practices. All should be paid for their accumulated wealth of knowledge and expertise as well as their ability to mentor those new to their professions.

Posted by: southsidemike1 | November 22, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

As an educator, now more in administration than teaching, I have seen my share of teachers. I can unequivocally state that experience matters, but it is not the only consideration, by any means. When I hire someone or even when I am looking at supporting a student in an extraordinary way, I am looking for attitude, authority, decision-making ability, and moral thinking.

In business, where Bill Gates excels, it has become the norm to create great efficiency to increase profits. The techniques he suggests may do that in business, but for educating citizens, human beings, who are in a process of development, this is not efficient if we want people who have broader qualities than just the memorized information to pass an abstract test. To have these qualities, it takes another human being to impart values and skills. A machine cannot do this. Mr. Gates is all about technology. He has supported increasing the technological tools in schools for many years, but that is ultimately good for his business, not necessarily good for education.

People are essential for educating people. Experienced people are even more critical because they have a maturity that is not available to someone who is just starting out and is book educated (screen educated these days). If we have schools only to throw information at kids, then why have schools at all? Kids can get easy access to any information through libraries and through the internet, or even the phone. Creating standardized curricula takes context out of the process. This is why inner city schools fail. The context is gone. The teachers do not stay because they realize quickly that the curriculum does not meet kids where they live. If the teachers and school districts have no freedom to be motivators and create a context, then why spend the money on schools that are virtually irrelevant?

The people and their experiences matter. At least Mr. Gates' and Mr. Duncan's comments create a debate. It is up to those who see beyond the "scientific" studies to create enough of a realization by society to hold them and their business model of education at bay.

Posted by: islandoak | November 22, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

persistent....and, Bill, in discussing the characteristics of an effective teacher, Marzano writes in What Works in Schools, "The Act of teaching is a holistic endeavor. Effective teachers employ effective instructional strategies, classroom management techniques, and classroom curriculum design in a fluent, seamless fashion." This happens by design in effective schools with mentoring, experience, and by furthering one's education to stay on top of the latest educational research.
And, Bill, have you reimbusred tuition for your employees who get advanced degrees? Have those employees who have earned an advanced degree been monetarily rewarded with a higher salary in your organization? Just wondering.

Posted by: southsidemike1 | November 22, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

persistent....and, Bill, in discussing the characteristics of an effective teacher, Marzano writes in What Works in Schools, "The Act of teaching is a holistic endeavor. Effective teachers employ effective instructional strategies, classroom management techniques, and classroom curriculum design in a fluent, seamless fashion." This happens by design in effective schools with mentoring, experience, and by furthering one's education to stay on top of the latest educational research.
And, Bill, have you reimbursed tuition for your employees who get advanced degrees? Have those employees who have earned an advanced degree been monetarily rewarded with a higher salary in your organization? Just wondering.

Posted by: southsidemike1 | November 22, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

It is frustrating to see this issue argued in black and white terms. It is silly for Mr. Gates to say that advanced degrees and experience does not matter. Obviously, experience and advanced degrees can make a great deal of difference in the effectiveness of a teacher.

BUT NOT ALWAYS. That is the crux of the problem and I think what Mr. Gates is getting at (albeit in black and white terms). I would become infuriated watching veteran teachers relying only on worksheets to teach first graders or screaming at children as a 'behavior management system'; some even had masters degrees. And they were paid more than I was, even though I was taking the same population of students with lower test scores and surpassing their students scores within a month.

It is exceedingly difficult to measure teacher effectiveness, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. As a teacher, I want some way to show that I am being effective (and I teach a very difficult low-income population). Watching ineffective but experienced teachers should make us all angry. We all want the best and the brightest in the classroom; we shouldn't settle for ineffective teachers. We should be rewarded for experience and advanced degrees, we should ALSO have some way to be rewarded for effectiveness. Its not easy to measure, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

Posted by: acasey3 | November 23, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

It is frustrating to see this issue argued in black and white terms. It is silly for Mr. Gates to say that advanced degrees and experience does not matter. Obviously, experience and advanced degrees can make a great deal of difference in the effectiveness of a teacher.

BUT NOT ALWAYS. That is the crux of the problem and I think what Mr. Gates is getting at (albeit in black and white terms). I would become infuriated watching veteran teachers relying only on worksheets to teach first graders or screaming at children as a 'behavior management system'; some even had masters degrees. And they were paid more than I was, even though I was taking the same population of students with lower test scores and surpassing their students scores within a month.

It is exceedingly difficult to measure teacher effectiveness, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. As a teacher, I want some way to show that I am being effective (and I teach a very difficult low-income population). Watching ineffective but experienced teachers should make us all angry. We all want the best and the brightest in the classroom; we shouldn't settle for ineffective teachers. We should be rewarded for experience and advanced degrees, we should ALSO have some way to be rewarded for effectiveness. Its not easy to measure, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

Posted by: acasey3 | November 23, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

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