Teachers, Time, & Space

Two new papers out on how teachers work and how to better leverage teachers’ time and effort.  Not unrelated to this recent solve for x post.

One, by ES’ Elena Silva, takes a look at the Generation Schools model in New York.  Silva argues that without attention to using teachers’ time differently today’s human capital efforts will likely fall short.   That’s almost certainly right and Generation Schools is at the vanguard of efforts to use people differently in education in an effort to improve outcomes.  But, there is a second question policymakers also have to ask:  Even if the “Gen Schools Approach,” if you will, can succeed at some meaningful level of scale, is it going to be sufficient given the scale of the educational challenges the country faces?   In other words, can it address the recruitment challenge at enough scale to really change aggregate outcomes?

Answering that broader question is essentially the focus of a new paper from Public Impact:  3x for All:  Extending the Reach of Education’s Best (pdf).   This paper flips the way the question is often formed by instead asking how, given that we know some teachers are 3x more effective than others, how do we get to 3x levels of instruction at scale by extending the reach of the most effective teachers?  It’s an exciting and daunting question and paper because it puts everything on the table, including some big risks.    The paper examines ways to leverage in-person reach extension, remote reach extension, and boundless reach extension – the latter really attacking traditional time/space constraints in instructional delivery.   

In a similar vein, this morning at the Nat’l Press Club the Hope Street Group is rolling out some new ideas on teacher evaluation and improvement there.   And some new Public Agenda data on the views of teachers.  Those data amplify and juxtapose some of the findings from this survey of TFA teachers (pdf).

3 Replies to “Teachers, Time, & Space”

  1. The 3X for all argument is interesting. My biggest concern with the idea is that the Hassels create another sort of “widget effect.” They assume that 3X teachers are an absolute and immutable quantity. They will be 3X teachers every year, and they will be 3X teachers in every environment. At this point, research just doesn’t bear out that assumption at all. The “Talent Transfer Project” is attempting to determine the extent to which teacher talents are transferable from one environment to the next. It’s a very difficult question.

    This is not to argue that no teacher is more effective than any other, or that we can’t adopt policies or new models to promote better deployment of excellent instruction. It’s just that the Hassels have recently displayed a tendency to oversimplify and overstate when they advance their provocative ideas–and to give short shrift to big, big challenges. Their latest work struck me as a caricature of a good idea.

  2. Wow–the argument in this paper is based on a lot of assumptions that don’t have much research base.

  3. This is exactly the path that Rocketship is going down. By using technology for a portion of each child’s daily instruction, we leverage teachers’ time more effectively and we’ve been able to raise teacher salaries 20% so far. If we can get to the type of system that the Hassels envision over the next 10 years, we would indeed start producing million dollar teachers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.