Poverty trumps all in schools | Arkansas Blog

Friday, July 22, 2011

Poverty trumps all in schools

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Heard of the Texas Tribune, the nonprofit on-line journalism project? Another great article for school reformers here — interview with a UT physics professor, Michael Marder, deeply involved in the effort to train more math and science teachers, who has gathered data on education questions and produced some provocative answers. For starters:

After looking at the data, Marder has yet to be convinced that any teaching solution has been found that can overcome the detrimental effects of poverty on a large scale — and that we may be looking for solutions in the wrong place.

Doesn't teacher quality play the largest role in education outcomes?

No, it’s poverty.

But aren't charter schools the solution?

No, secondary charter schools in Texas lead to much lower levels of student performance than comparable public schools, and across the nation secondary charter schools at best keep up with comparable public schools.

Marder lays out his data on all this at his website. Rich trove of stuff. He analyzes, for example, national test scores based on poverty and based on whether students are in districts with collective bargaining for teachers.

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