Academic journal article Education Next

Implications for Policy Are Not So Clear

Academic journal article Education Next

Implications for Policy Are Not So Clear

Article excerpt

In light of the widespread attention given to the Chetty, Friedman, and Rockoff research, Education Next asked four experts to comment on the study's implications for teacher policy.

Raj Chetty, John Friedman, and Jonah Rockoff have carried out a remarkable study, but I suspect it will be misinterpreted.

The main contribution of their research is quantifying the importance of teaching. Specifically, the authors conclude that students taught by a more effective teacher will collectively earn hundreds of thousands of dollars more over their lifetimes, and that good teachers similarly influence college going and teenage pregnancy. Because each teacher influences thousands of students over a career, this suggests that one excellent teacher could generate enormous social and economic benefits.

I find these results plausible, though there are some real limitations. The researchers present convincing evidence that their estimates of teacher contributions to student achievement are valid and do not simply reflect differences in student background. But this type of "selection bias" could influence effects on earnings and other long-term outcomes. So, the most intriguing findings here are also still somewhat tenuous. Given the small size of the effects for each individual student, even a slight bit of selection bias could dramatically alter the estimated benefits of an individual teacher.

Perhaps the more important question is, what do the results mean for policy? Policymakers had already concluded that we need to do more to improve teaching. As a result, schools and districts around the country are now experimenting with a wide range of policies to improve teacher performance measures and use these to make high-stakes decisions such as dismissing low-performing teachers. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.