Key to improving schools is quality teachers

March 11, 2011

As Erica Green reported in The Sun ("Tests to decide staff fate at 5 city schools," March 10), five city schools are slated for overhaul if their MSA scores do not improve. Under the punitive system set up by No Child Left Behind, many more schools are set to join them across the country.

Arne Duncan has said that No Child Left Behind has resulted in labeling more and more schools as failing, prompting him to advocate for changes in the law. But whether we change No Child Left Behind or not, the answer to improving schools is to improve the quality of teachers in them.

Teachers need not be young to be good or senior to be bad. There are great teachers across the system that are both young and seasoned. Young or old, we need more quality teachers in our poorest performing schools who will stay and make those schools stronger. Focusing on that project will go a longer way toward school improvement than any reform for our schools.

Jessica Shiller, Baltimore

The writer is education director of Advocates for Children and Youth.

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