Bill Gates urges teacher effectiveness policies

˙ PREAL Blog

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A recent article by Bill Gates criticizes the U.S. for doing “very little to measure, develop and reward excellent teaching” and recommends developing fair and reliable measures of teacher effectiveness that are tied to gains in student learning as a low-cost way to boost student achievement.

Gates points out that other professionals – like farmers, engineers, computer programmers and athletes –have advanced in part because they rely on clear indicators of excellence to determine their success. But similar advances have not been made in teaching because the U.S. has not “built a system to measure and promote excellence.” Instead, it has invested in proxy measures thought to raise student achievement, like automatic salary increases based on seniority and advanced degrees, and reducing class sizes, all of which have proven ineffective.

In addition to improving teacher support and evaluation systems, Gates recommends asking the most effective teachers to teach a greater number of students, and paying them more to do so.

Gates’ editorial in the Washington Post may be found online here. You can read more about the Gates Foundation’s work to improve teacher effectiveness in this New York Times article.

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