Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why would anyone disagree? The quality of teachers is important

One of the problems with public education in the US today is that is has become very, very hard to get rid of bad teachers.  Teacher unions claim that all teachers are equal and it is wrong to fire poor teachers.

Finland has emerged as one of the best educated countries in the world.  And they acknowledge what most thinking people would realize:

But Finland's sweeping success is largely due to one big, not-so-secret weapon: its teachers. "It's the quality of the teaching that is driving Finland's results," says the OECD's Schleicher. "The U.S. has an industrial model where teachers are the means for conveying a prefabricated product. In Finland, the teachers are the standard."

The amount of damage the poorest 10% teachers hurts us in so many ways.  When children learn incorrect concepts or learn them in the wrong way it takes much more effort to straighten them out, and some times they never unlearn.  For example I was taught look-say and decades later I still struggle with sounding out new words.  It has made me a poor speller.  I wish I had been taught phonics.  One of the good things about homeschooling is we can learn, correct and do a better job.  All of my daughters are much better at sounding out new words.

Hat tip: Mental Multivitamin who has been saying for years that The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.

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