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Christopher Redding does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons licence. An average of 16 percent of public school teachers change schools or leave teaching every year. This is over half a million teachers nationwide. A forthcoming study that I conducted with Vanderbilt education professor Gary Henry shows that losing a teacher during the school year is linked with a loss of between 32 and 72 instructional days.

The reason teacher turnover is associated with such a heavy loss of instructional time is largely a result of the disruption it causes students and other school staff. Teacher turnover hits high-poverty schools — where students already have the fewest resources — the hardest. Teachers are nearly twice as likely to exit high-poverty schools compared to the most affluent schools.

With high annual turnover, children from low-income families are most likely to be taught by a novice teacher. Some of these teachers changed schools. Others left teaching altogether. Although our study does not identify whether or not teachers were reassigned, fired or their contracts not renewed, other research suggests that approximately 10 percent of teacher turnover is involuntary. Notably, an average of 6 percent of early career teachers leave their jobs during the school year. In addition, new teachers are much more likely to be reassigned, quit or be fired from high-minority schools.

Turnover also severs the relationships formed between teachers and their students, as well as the parents and guardians.

According to the PISA study, international experience suggests that nothing is to be gained from expanding the private sector in education. Students in private schools do no better than students in public schools, once differences in family background characteristics are taken into account.

When undertaking an international analysis of school choice, he argued, one should not compare the effectiveness of the public and private sectors but should instead look at the extent to which competition between the two sectors affects the achievement of all the students in the country, regardless of whether they go to public or private school. In countries such as high-achieving Netherlands, a large percentage of students attend private schools, with government paying the tuition.

In countries such as low-performing Spain, only a few students attend private school. Other countries fall in between these two extremes. Using a sophisticated statistical technique, West showed that all students in a country learned more when the private sector was larger. Moreover, this increase in performance takes place within school systems that spend 6 percent less overall. A degree of choice can be introduced in the state sector if decisionmaking is shifted to the school level, as has been done in Ontario, Glaze said.

The U. The story of school reform has too often been one of a strong district or state leader driving reform until the end of her tenure, with stagnation afterward. Only the powers of competition embedded within a system can lead to sustained improvements. The introduction of competition in New Orleans, where 85 percent of the schools are now charter schools, said Pastorek, provided a foundation for continued reform and improvement.

But choice works only if choice systems are equitable, schools are held accountable by the state or school district, and parents are given readily understandable information about school quality. Common standards and tests that evaluate performance against those standards are to be found in most of the countries that are performing better than the United States, whether they be in Europe or Asia. Shengchang Tang, principal of the Shanghai High School the leading high school in China , said that the standards and examinations in the Shanghai province are a powerful tool that parents use to exert pressure on their children as well as on teachers and principals.

These particular standards and exams do not extend to the whole of China, which is deemed too large to have a single set of exams. In his view, that pressure focuses attention in schools and fuels the drivers of the successful Shanghai education system, including higher investments, a high-caliber teaching force, and a strategy tailored to the specific situation faced by each school. Tang questioned whether common standards would be effective in the very different U.

Specifically, he was skeptical that such standards would catalyze more effective parent pressure on U. In contrast, in a recent poll in Shanghai, 85 percent of parents declared that they expected their children to be in the top 15 percent of their age cohort. Common standards allow parents, educators, and policymakers to be clear about current achievement levels so they can act on that knowledge.

This is perhaps the reason the Obama administration has lent its support to the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which has been embraced as a reform solution by 44 states and the District of Columbia. Gerard Robinson began his comments by acknowledging that he was chief education officer in Virginia while that state was opposed to common standards and is now chief in Florida, which is committed to common standards. He offered two reasons for embracing common standards: 1 students must compete with those in other states and, indeed, with students all over the world, and 2 companies need common standards in order to compare job applicants.

Could the United States create common standards that were high enough to spur high achievement? He reminded the group that the same political context exists today as existed when No Child Left Behind was crafted. Digital learning that exploits online courses and broadband capabilities can expand choice for students, ensure transparency and accountability for courses offered online, and create opportunities for many more students to come into contact with the very best teachers.

Further, it can serve as a catalyst for higher standards and can do all this without driving up the cost of education. Shantanu Prakash, of Educomp Solutions, informed the audience about the business he started and now heads in India. Educomp serves more than 12 million students in India alone and operates in a number of other developing countries where traditional schools have limited resources and set low standards for instruction.

Educomp targets schools with products it says are not only inexpensive but user-friendly and easily combined with traditional classroom instruction. Digital learning can give students greater choice, even down to the specific instructor for a particular course. Digital learning is a growing reality in many other countries. Citing numerous references, Patrick told of its widespread adoption across the world. Since its beginnings in , FLVS has grown steadily and currently has nearly , course enrollments.

The reasons for its success, according to Young, include student access to teachers seven days a week and beyond the regular school day, choice in assignments, and a constantly improving curriculum and instruction that is transparent to administrators, parents, and outsiders. Digital teachers cannot easily be qualified in multiple states, funding follows student and sometimes physical attendance, and there are no common standards across states that would reduce the costs of development.

Competing interests The authors declare that they have no competing interests. References Australian Education for Sustainability Alliance. Education for sustainability and the Australian curriculum project, final report for research phases Accessed 28 May Baepler, P. Melbourne: Monash University Press.

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