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Would Teacher Independence Help Student Growth?

Would Teacher Independence Help Student Growth?

Would giving teachers greater independence lead to higher student performance?

John Tulenko of Learning Matters Television recently had a conversation with Susan Sluyter, a public school teacher, and other educators about common school issues on a PBS.org podcast. Sluyter shared her feelings about education, and said after 20 years of teaching she started to lose inspiration and started to feel "deadened." Sluyter eventually quit her job last March. 

"I felt - I got to a point where I was feeling like I was contributing to - to pain for children," she said. "And I didn't want to do that anymore. I couldn't keep teaching and hold on to any integrity."

Tony Wagner, a professor at Harvard University, said the "topdown climate" in public schoolslead to an exodus of teachers. More than 20,000 quit each year, and a national survey found dissatisfaction with the job increased from 40% four years ago to 60% today. 

"But rather than quit, some teachers are taking back their classroms in what are called teacher-led schools, like Mission Hill School in Boston, Massachusetts," said Tulenko. Mission Hill is just one of about 70 teacher-led schools that have emerged around the country. Some of them choose to operate without a school principal. The article looked at the practices at Mission Hill School, and determined whether it works and helps students be happier in school. 

"You have to trust that the people who are closest to the child are working in a capacity of excellence," said Kathy D'Andrea, teacher at Mission Hill School. "You have to trust that they know children well, and are taking children where they need to go."

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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