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Thompson: Reformer Urges Focus On Institutions Not Individuals

ExceedsAt first read, Neerav Kingsland's  "Top-Third Tina, Bottom-Third Barry" at Title I-Derland seems like an invitation for value-added researchers to tackle an arcane methodological point when estimating the effectiveness of TFA.  Kingsland's theory is that you can take the "Top-Third Tina" and "Bottom-Third Barry" and if you put them in either a low performing law firm or a low-performing school they, "will perform roughly the same after two years."  Many TFA teachers work in high-performing charter schools and "in high-performing environments TFA teachers add a lot of value." But Kingsland's takeaway is that in "poorly managed schools, the impact of the institution itself will drown out a lot of potential variance in effectiveness. Nobody gets trained or supported. Few people excel." Kingsland urges a focus on the real problem.  If we make poor performing schools better, "two things will happen: (1) all teachers will improve and (2) the 'talented' teachers will show a significant effect that was not picked up in the poorly run school." - JT (@drjohnthompson) image via.

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It’s true. I have a friend from California who was fired as part of government-mandated layoffs around the time NCLB was induced. He had basically no funding at the time, was forced to supply his students out of pocket, and the school board, in an attempt to not suffer complete government overhaul, fired the teachers that taught groups with learning disabilities, typically the lowest scoring members of that particular school, because he hadn’t been trained or supplied adequately to teach them. It took him a while to accept that he is a great teacher, and was, I feel, grossly mistreated in this case.

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