The Missing Link in School Reform

The Missing Link in School Reform

In trying to improve American public schools, educators, policymakers, and philanthropists are overselling the role of the highly skilled individual teacher and undervaluing the benefits that come from teacher collaborations.

By Carrie R. Leana Fall 2011 from Stanford Social Innovation Review

Value-added modeling is one example of a larger approach to improving public schools that is aimed at enhancing what economists label “human capital”—factors such as teacher experience, subject knowledge, and pedagogical skills. If a teacher’s human capital can be increased, films like Waiting for Superman argue, the United States would be well on the way to solving its alarming educational problem. But the research my colleagues and I at the University of Pittsburgh have conducted over the past decade in several large urban school districts suggests that enhancing teacher human capital should not be the sole or even primary focus of school reform. Instead, if students are to show measurable and sustained improvement, schools must also foster what sociologists label “social capital”—the patterns of interactions among teachers.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s