Spend education money more wisely for better results

Amidst all the fuss about (and money spent on) the Common Core, Mass-Customized Learning, proficiency-based education, and the collection and use of data  we must not forget that the quality of human experiences in a school is what ultimately determines the learning outcomes of the students.

If the adults in a school don’t feel satisfied professionally, then the students won’t thrive. We can have access to all the data in the world about a child, but if the child’s teachers are unhappy professionally, then that data will not ultimately be useful.

Schools where the adults feel satisfied professionally are able to produce good learning results in children. Our money and attention should be spent creating the conditions teachers want: sufficient time alone and with other teachers for thoughtful preparation of curriculum and lessons; a teaching load that allows for meaningful relations with children; a voice in decisions that impact what happens in the school; time and support for advanced study; respectful treatment from administrators and school board.

I would wager that in most cases better student learning results would quickly follow once those conditions were provided for.

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Kathreen Harrison

About Kathreen Harrison

Kathreen Harrison is a public school teacher in Maine. She has a master’s degree from Bank Street College of Education and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College. She has worked in a variety of schools in New York and Maine in a number of capacities – French teacher, gifted and talented teacher, elementary school teacher, and curriculum coordinator for island schools. She has lived in Maine for 20 years and has a particular interest in school reform.