Back to School - quality factors in the school environment
As kids go back to school, we rush around getting school clothes and supplies. For some parents, their kids are just starting school. For all of us we want our kids to have the best educational opportunity we can give them. So how do we measure the quality of a school?
Back to Elementary School
Recent research results suggest that three elements are important factors in determining an elementary school's quality. These are strong leadership, high academic standards, and frequent instruction planning meetings. These factors have been linked to better third grade reading and math scores.
Back to school - teacher turnover
Lower teacher turnover seems to correlate with better student behavior. Unstable schools tend to have a high teacher turnover and lower student self control and involvement in school.
Many kids are not in schools that rate high for these factors
Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K), research shows that
- 30 percent of all children attend elementary schools that do not have strong principal leadership
- Just less than half of all children are in schools where their teachers do not meet together regularly to plan sequenced and coordinated instruction
- 15 percent of children are in schools where teacher turnover is a problem
Kids from low income families were also more likely to attend elementary schools without these quality performance factors. Race also seems to play a role. Over 20% of Black and Hispanic children go to schools where teacher turnover is high versus 11% of White non-Hispanic students.
So as the kids go back to school after their summer break, a significant number of them are returning to schools that fail to provide them with the best learning environment.