After decades of reform efforts, have any of the players in education really gotten what they want? Teachers still don’t get the respect and substantial rewards they deserve, and students haven’t seen big leaps in achievement. Public Impact Co-Directors Emily Ayscue Hassel and Bryan C. Hassel see a new way forward–one that focuses on excellent teachers, but takes us to a brighter future for everyone. In An Opportunity Culture for All: Making Teaching a Highly Paid, High-Impact Profession, the Hassels update their vision of an Opportunity Culture, showing how extending the reach of great teachers can start a virtuous cycle of excellence and higher pay for all teachers.
As they note:
Studies prove the enormous effect that excellent teachers have on closing achievement gaps, cultivating students’ higher-order thinking, improving children’s lifelong prospects, and bolstering our national security and economic power.
However, today’s classrooms do not have enough teachers who achieve the high-growth, higher-order learning our modern economy demands—at least, not in today’s one-teacher-one-classroom mode. Studies have shown that only about 25 percent of today’s teachers produce enough progress—well over a year’s worth of learning growth in a year’s time—to help students close achievement gaps and leap ahead. Students starting behind need multiple years of these great teachers to catch up. Students starting in the middle need the same to advance to honors-level work.