Extensive research shows that the quality of a student's teacher matters more than anything else that happens in a school. As Nicholas Kristof wrote in The New York Times:
“Having a good fourth-grade teacher makes a student 1.25 percent more likely to go to college, the research suggests, and 1.25 percent less likely to get pregnant as a teenager. Each of the students will go on as an adult to earn, on average, $25,000 more over a lifetime — or about $700,000 in gains for an average size class — all attributable to that ace teacher back in the fourth grade.”
Yet for decades, New York State laws, regulations and union contracts did nothing to promote teacher quality. Recent changes to the teacher evaluation law are a first step in the right direction, but will have little impact unless we implement new and better ways to recruit, retain and reward our most talented educators. We need to ensure that developing teachers get meaningful feedback, and we also need to acknowledge that teaching is one of the toughest jobs around, and that it’s not fair to our kids to allow ineffective teachers to stay in the classroom year after year.
Our children’s future is just too important. Click here to learn more about how to elevate the profession and improve teacher quality for New York’s students.
In too many cities and neighborhoods, parents do not have access to high-quality schools. Generally speaking, policymakers long ago resigned themselves to quality schools in affluent communities – and mediocrity, or worse, for everyone else. It shouldn’t be this way. More and more schools are proving that through hard work, innovation, and, in many cases, by throwing out the broken policies of old, our education system has the power to do right by children even in the most challenging circumstances. Of course, these schools represent a threat to the established order. We need more school options for families, not fewer: kids shouldn’t have to rely on a lottery or their parents’ ability to buy a house in a certain neighborhood to get a great education.
Click here to learn more about how we can provide every family in New York State with a high quality school option.
Did you know that there are almost 700 school districts – and as many separate bureaucracies – in our state, and that more than a quarter of them serve fewer than 1,000 students? Or that there are entire urban school districts without a single school in good standing? New York spends more money per pupil than any other state in the nation, but we don’t have the results to show for it. A big reason for that are layers of bureaucracy and dysfunction that permeate school districts throughout the state. We need dramatic change to reduce the amount of money being spent on bureaucracy and unnecessary mandates and increase the flow of dollars into the classroom. And we need to take a serious look at reforming the fundamental governance structures of our most troubled school districts, where politics has created paralysis and an absence of accountability and clear policy direction.
Click here to learn more about how we can make our school systems work for the children they serve.