Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Overhauling schools

Economist article #2:

What separates the big spenders from the improvers, McKinsey found, is the awareness that different types of school system respond to radically different types of reform. In countries where schools mainly seek to teach pupils to read, write and grasp some basic maths, centralisation seems to work. All teachers should be directed to teach the same lessons from the same textbooks.

Once the school system can teach to basic standards, it should pay more attention to collecting detailed data on examination results. This serves not just to make schools accountable, but helps to identify the best teaching methods.

Countries where schools have already attained a higher standard should become pickier in choosing teachers. Another study by McKinsey in 2007 concluded that making teaching a high-status profession was what boosted standards. For instance, schools could recruit teachers from among the best university graduates, an idea that was part of a series of measures published in England on November 24th.

At the very top of the global educational league table—where only a handful of countries or systems within them manage to attain really high standards—decentralisation is the name of the game. The authorities hand control over to teachers, most of whom are highly educated and motivated, so they can learn from each other and follow the best practices. When it comes to getting the very best grades, it seems that teacher still knows best.


Overhauling schools

How to get good grades

It is not money nor uninformed reform that makes schools better

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