If you’re an innovative educator, the news about teacher effectiveness having little impact on student achievement is no surprise. The Gates Foundation spent a whooping $575 million buckaroos, when they could have just been listening to teachers who knew better.
Even after we do all the work it takes to provide the basics for our children, many schools still don’t have it right. What’s next is belongingness and love. Devoid of that we will continue to see kids in gangs and victims being murdered.
There are several school models i.e. Agile, Big Picture, or Democratic Schools that know how to achieve this and the answer is simple!
Smaller student to teacher ratio. Period.
And, it’s not just class size, but also class load. Research tells us that no teacher should ever have to teach more than five different classes. If they do, it is impossible for them to help students develop that relationship or belongingness.
Our students and colleagues should be our family. In Big Picture Schools they outline the keys to student success. Small size, intimate advisory system, and insistence on parent participation all lead to making the school feel like a family and several features extend these connections and family feel even after graduation.
It is not until we understand that as education leader Chris Lehmann says, “Our job is to teach kids, not subjects,” we can begin the work we need to help our children succeed.
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