The basic math of school reform

I know it’s the end of the school year, (or the start of summer school for some of us), but here’s a quiz for education leaders and policymakers. (Warning: Clicking, reading, and light thinking are required).

A. Responding to survey results on why students dropout, posted by Barbara Pytel on Suite101.comMcRel suggests that the key to the problem is what teachers are and are not doing to engage students in their classrooms (e.g., relying too heavily on lecture format and seat work).

B. Responding to a question on how to improve professional development for teachers during an interview with the Des Moines Register, Linda Darling-Hammond observed:

“In most high-achieving countries, teachers have 15 to 25 hours a week [that’s paid time—my emphasis] where they are planning collaboratively with their colleagues, so they are not just making up lessons at the kitchen table on a Sunday night by themselves.”

True or False: Making more of B the rule and not the exception for U.S. teachers would go a long way towards resolving A and lead to better quality teaching for all students.

{Answer key: True}

If you failed the quiz, remediation is available by reading (carefully) Barnett Berry’s recent editorial in EdWeek on “Ending the Battles over Teaching” [pay special attention to his list of how the not-so-distant future of teaching in public schools could look].

(Hat tip to Larry Ferlazzo for pointing me to the McRel piece).

{Update!! Check out the most recent Carnival of Education at siobhan curious. Thanks for including me!}