I have been freed from the bonds of being a ‘normal teacher’ who skates, to an excellent teacher who soars.
The Importance of Investing in Literacy Instruction
Why Training in Literacy Instruction is Needed
An essay by Children's Literacy Initiative
Ready, Willing, and Unable to Serve: 75% of Young Adults Cannot Join the Military; Early Ed in Pennsylvania is Needed to Ensure National Security. A Report by Mission: Readiness, Military Leaders for Kids.
The Pentagon has found that 75% of Americans aged 17-24 are ineligible to serve in the military due to inadequate basic literacy and numeracy skills, criminal history, and health problems. Because the United States needs competent, educated, and healthy individuals to serve in our increasingly professional and technologically advanced military, this is a serious national security issue. Data shows that having a high-quality early education increases children’s graduation rates and cuts crime rates; therefore, the authors make the case that an investment in early education is an investment in national security.
The McKinsey Report: How the World’s Best-Performing School Systems Come Out On Top, September 2007
Between May 2006 and March 2007, McKinsey & Company studied the world’s top-performing school systems and most successful educational reforms. Their findings showed that the most successful systems and programs were all based in the belief that “the only way to improve outcomes is to improve instruction.” They also all shared several key strategies for improving instruction—strategies which closely parallel Children’s Literacy Initiative’s work as an organization.
The McKinsey Report: The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America’s Schools, April 2009
This report examines how the academic achievement gaps between the United States and other nations, between black and Latino students and white students, between students of different income levels, and between students schooled in different systems or regions affect individuals as well as the economy as a whole. The authors conclude that “the persistence of these educational achievement gaps imposes on the United States the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession.” Although there are vast discrepancies in educational achievement between certain groups of students and others, the variation in performance among schools and school systems serving similar student populations suggests that these gaps can be closed—in other words, “race and poverty are not destiny.”
The Widget Effect: Our National Failure to Acknowledge and Act on Differences in Teacher Effectiveness by Daniel Weisberg, Susan Sexton, Jennifer Mulhern, and David Keeling of the New Teacher Project, 2009.
This report, based on extensive research spanning 12 school districts across 4 states, examines a phenomenon in the American educational system called the “Widget Effect:” namely, the “tendency of school districts to assume classroom effectiveness is the same from teacher to teacher” rather than regarding teachers as individual professionals with individual strengths and weakness. The authors conclude that our “pervasive and longstanding failure to recognize and respond to variations in the effectiveness of our teachers” both keeps teachers from improving their instruction and keeps students from learning. The report concludes with several suggestions for measures schools and school districts can take to reverse the widget effect.
Profiles of Eight Integrated Cost Approaches to Measuring and/or Estimating Social Value Creation produced by Melinda T. Tuan for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Impact Planning and Improvement Division, December 15, 2008 (see page 40, Appendix M, for CLI cost/benefit analysis.)
This document describes the methodology used by the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy to determine the cost-per-student benefit of CLI intervention. The Center found that an investment of $568.18 in CLI’s teacher training program brings one student who otherwise would not performing on grade-level up to benchmark.
The Benwood Plan: A Lesson in Comprehensive Teacher Reform by Elena Silva, Education Sector Reports, April 2008
Education policy analyst Elena Silva examines the whole story behind the successful reform of the Hamilton County School District in Tennessee. Although the “Benwood Initiative” in Hamilton County schools is frequently cited as a case for improving outcomes by replacing ineffective teachers, Silva concludes that the District’s inspiring turnaround was not solely the result of bringing different, more effective teachers into struggling elementary schools. Rather, the initiative was successful largely because the district invested in mentoring programs to improve the instructional skills of existing teachers, brought in additional staff to support curriculum and instruction, and instituted a host of other management reforms at the district level. “What the Benwood teachers needed most,” she writes, “were not new peers or extra pay” but “support and recognition from the whole community, resources and tools to improve as professionals, and school leaders who could help them help their students.”
2010 KIDS COUNT Special Report NOW AVAILABLE
Children's Literacy Initiative is pleased to join the Annie E. Casey Foundation as a 2010 KIDS COUNT Special Report Outreach Partner.
The special report, “Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters,” makes the case that reading proficiently by grade three is a fundamental benchmark in developmental success and overall childhood well-being. Please visit the online Data Center (http://datacenter.kidscount.org/readingmatters.aspx), where you can download the report and create maps, graphs, and charts of education data at national and local levels.”
When we began with CLI in 2004, 49% of our children met our benchmarks in literacy at the end of kindergarten. Over the next 3 years, we gradually involved every kindergarten classroom, special education, and ESOL teacher in a structured program of CLI professional development, with the result that last year, 81% of our children met the exit benchmark. With CLI’s help, we built a more coherent curriculum, and we have embedded exemplary practice.