Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Answer Sheet - Will firing 5-10 percent of teachers make us Finland?

The Answer Sheet - Will firing 5-10 percent of teachers make us Finland?

Will firing 5-10 percent of teachers make us Finland?

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 In the world of education policy, the following assertion has become ubiquitous: If we just fire the bottom 5-10 percent of teachers, our test scores will be at the level of the highest-performing nations, such as Finland. Michelle Rhee likes to make this claim. So does Bill Gates. The source and sole support for this claim is a calculation by economist Eric Hanushek, which he sketches out roughly in a chapter of the edited volume Creating a New Teaching Profession (published by the Urban Institute). The chapter is called “Teacher Deselection” (“deselection” is a polite way of saying “firing”). Hanushek is a respected economist who has been researching education for over 30 years. He is willing to say

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