Friday, April 24, 2015

We've had our eye on him

For quite some time, most recently here;
During the experiment in Houston [public schools], an education commissioner from another state came to tour Robinson elementary school, one of the toughest in the city. He knew Houston and was familiar with Robinson. At the end of the tour, he pulled me aside. He had one question: “Where did you move the kids who used to go to school here?” I said that these are all the same kids, but they behave a lot differently when we do our jobs properly. They are listening. They are learning. They will live up to the expectations that we have for them.
I was a kid who went to broken schools. Thanks to my grandmother and some good luck, I beat the odds. But one success story is not what we want. What we want are rigorously evaluated, replicable, systematic educational practices that will change the odds.
And now no one will be able to ignore Roland Fryer's brilliance, since he's just won the John Bates Clark Medal;
Roland Fryer of Harvard University won the American Economic Association’s John Bates Clark young economist award for his work on the economics of race and education, the AEA said on its website.
Fryer’s “innovative and creative research contributions have deepened our understanding of the sources, magnitude and persistence of U.S. racial inequality,” the AEA said in its announcement on Friday. The 37-year-old Fryer, who is Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard, is the first African-American to receive the prize.
The medal is awarded annually to the American economist under 40 who is judged to have made “the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge,” according to the association. Recipients have about a one-in-three chance of eventually winning the Nobel Prize in economics, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The National Education Assn. must be in mourning.
In “Teacher Incentives and Student Achievement:  Evidence from New York City” (Journal of Labor Economics 2013), Fryer looks at financial incentives for teachers through randomized control trials (RCTs) in New York City  (NYC) middle schools and high schools.  Fryer finds no systematic effect of traditional teacher incentives on student outcomes.
Which is to say, the kinds of things that unionized teachers are striking over in the state of Washington right now. Not what we should be doing according the newest Clark laureate;
In “Getting Beneath the Veil of Effective Schools: Evidence from New York City” (American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 2013), Fryer and [his colleague Will] Dobbie collect data on the inner-workings of 39 NYC charter schools from interviews and surveys of principals, teachers, and students, along with administrative data.  They correlate the school policies and characteristics with estimates of school effectiveness in raising student achievement from lottery-based and quasi-experimental matching estimates. They find that a bundle of five school policies suggested by their in-depth qualitative research – frequent teacher feedback, the use of data to guide instruction, high-dosage tutoring, increased instructional time, and high expectations – are strongly positively correlated with improvements in student achievement.

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