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School leadership contributes to student achievement education essay

Egalite sits down with Marty West to discuss this article on the EdNext podcast. This article is part of a new Education Next series commemorating the 50th anniversary of James S. On the weekend before the Fourth of July 1966, the U. Office of Education quietly released a 737-page report that summarized one of the most comprehensive studies of American education ever conducted.

Encompassing some 3,000 schools, nearly 600,000 students, and thousands of teachers, and produced by a team led by School leadership contributes to student achievement education essay Hopkins University sociologist James S. Indeed, the timing of the release relied on one of the oldest tricks in the public relations playbook—announcing unfavorable results on a major holiday, when neither the American public nor the news media are paying much attention. So what exactly had Coleman uncovered?

Subsequent research has corroborated the finding that family background is strongly correlated with student performance in school. A correlation between family background and educational and economic success, however, does not tell us whether the relationship between the two is independent of any school impacts.

The associations between home life and school performance that Coleman documented may actually be driven by disparities in school or neighborhood quality rather than family influences. In this essay I look at four family variables that may influence student achievement: I then consider the ways in which schools can offset the effects of these factors. Better-educated parents are more likely to consider the quality of the local schools when selecting a neighborhood in which to live.

In addition, highly educated parents are more likely than their less-educated counterparts to read to their children. They are more likely to pose questions instead of directives and employ a broader and more complex vocabulary.

The Many Faces of Leadership

Estimates suggest that, by age 3, children whose parents receive public assistance hear less than a third of the words encountered by their higher-income peers. As a result, the children of highly educated parents are capable of more complex speech and have more extensive vocabularies before they even start school.

A cohesive social network of well-educated individuals socializes children to expect that they too will attain high levels of academic success.

  1. They may also evaluate other teachers, in which case their colleagues are likely to regard them as pseudoadministrators.
  2. The data do not include any observations about what a principal actually does, or fails to do, to improve learning.
  3. Teachers can learn these skills through school-level professional development, of course, but they may also build these skills through districtwide or university-based courses and seminars. Unfortunately, some administrators jealously guard their turf, apparently fearing that ambitious teacher leaders will somehow undermine their own authority.

It can also transmit cultural capital by teaching children the specific behaviors, patterns of speech, and cultural references that are valued by the educational and professional elite.

Teasing out the distinct causal impact of parental education is tricky, but given the strong association between parental education and student achievement in every industrialized society, the direct impact is undoubtedly substantial.

1. Introduction

Even small differences in access to the activities and experiences that are known to promote brain development can accumulate. More-affluent parents can also use their resources to ensure that their children have access to a full range of extracurricular activities at school and in the community. Working multiple jobs or inconvenient shifts makes it hard to dedicate time for family dinners, enforce a consistent bedtime, read to infants and toddlers, or invest in music lessons or sports clubs.

Even small differences in access to the activities and experiences that are known to promote brain development can accumulate, resulting in a sizable gap between two groups of children defined by family circumstances. It is challenging to find rigorous experimental or quasi-experimental evidence to disentangle the direct effects of home life from the school leadership contributes to student achievement education essay of the school a family selects.

While Coleman claimed that family and peers had an effect on student achievement that was distinct from the influence of schools or neighborhoods, his research design was inadequate to support this conclusion.

All he was able to show was that family characteristics had a strong correlation with student achievement. Separating out the independent effects of family education and family income is also difficult. However, a recent study by Gordon Dahl and Lance Lochner, exploiting quasi-experimental variation in the Earned Income Tax Credit, provides convincing evidence that increases in family income can lift the achievement levels of students raised in low-income working families, even holding other factors constant.

Two percent of U. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 2. Black children are 7. Incarceration removes a wage earner from the home, lowering household income.

One estimate suggests that two-thirds of incarcerated fathers had provided the primary source of family income before their imprisonment. As a result, children with a parent in prison are at greater risk of homelessness, which in turn can have grave consequences: Quantifying the causal effects of parental incarceration has proven challenging, however.

A recent review of 22 studies of the effect of parental incarceration on child well-being concludes that, to date, no research in this area has been able to leverage a natural experiment to produce quasi-experimental estimates.

Just how large a causal impact parental incarceration has on children remains an important but largely uncharted topic for future research.

While most American children still live with both of their biological or adoptive parents, family structures have become more diverse in recent years, and living arrangements have grown increasingly complex. In particular, the two-parent family is vanishing among the poor.

Approximately two-fifths of U. Many parents today choose cohabitation over marriage, but the instability of such partnerships is even higher. In the case of nonmarital births, estimates say that 56 percent of fathers will be living away from their child by his or her third birthday. Census Bureau reports that 1- to 2-year-olds who live with two married parents are read to, on average, 8.

The corresponding statistic for their peers living with a single parent is 5. These effects are largest for boys. Recent research by MIT economist David Autor and colleagues generates quasi-experimental school leadership contributes to student achievement education essay of family background by simultaneously accounting for the impact of neighborhood environment and school quality to investigate why boys fare worse than girls in disadvantaged families.

Comparing boys to their sisters in a data set that includes more than 1 million children born in Florida between 1992 and 2002, the authors demonstrate a persistent gender gap in graduation and truancy rates, incidence of behavioral and cognitive disabilities, and standardized test scores. Should they try to improve schools to overcome the effects of family background or directly address the effects of family background?

One- to 2-year-olds who live with two married parents are read to, on average, 8. The question is critical. If family background is decisive regardless of the quality of the school, then the road to equal opportunity will be long and hard. Increasing the level of parental education is a multigenerational challenge, while reducing the rising disparities in family income would require massive changes in public policy, and reversing the growth in the prevalence of single-parent families would also prove challenging.

And, while efforts to reduce incarceration rates are afoot, U.

  • The best teachers continue to grow and don't rely solely on school designated professional development hours as their outlet to learn new concepts and ideas about education;
  • In most professions, as the practitioner gains experience, he or she has the opportunity to exercise greater responsibility and assume more significant challenges;
  • In our conclusion, we discuss several ways that policymakers and practitioners may start to do so, including through the design and implementation of teacher evaluation systems, professional development, recruitment, and strategic teacher assignments.

Given these obstacles, if schools themselves can offset differences in family background, the chances of achieving a more egalitarian society greatly improve. Although the obstacles to causal inference are steep, education researchers should focus on quasi-experimental approaches relying on sibling comparisons, changes in state laws over time, or policy quirks—such as policy implementation timelines that vary across municipalities—that facilitate research opportunities.

Given what is currently known, a holistic approach that simultaneously attempts to strengthen both home and school influences in disadvantaged communities is worthy of further exploration. A number of contemporary and past initiatives point to the potential of this comprehensive approach.

  • Conclusions The role of principals in fostering student learning is an important facet of education policy discussions;
  • Ming prepares by participating in the district's three-day training on mentoring;
  • Alternatively, a school that serves disadvantaged students may appear to be doing poorly but in fact have a great principal who is producing better outcomes than any other principal would.

Department of Education, serve distressed communities by delivering a continuum of services through multiple government agencies, nonprofit organizations, churches, and agencies of civil society.

The programs and resources are available to the families at no cost. Services available in the HCZ include a Baby College, where expectant parents can learn about child development and gain parenting skills; two charter schools and a college success office, which provides individualized counseling and guidance to graduates on university campuses across the country; free legal services, tax preparation, and financial counseling; employment workshops and job fairs; a 50,000-square-foot facility that offers recreational and nutrition classes; and a food services team that provides breakfast, lunch, and a snack every school day to more than 2,000 students.

Teacher and Teaching Effects on Students’ Attitudes and Behaviors

Students who win admission by lottery and attend an HCZ school also have higher on-time graduation rates than their peers and are less likely to become teen parents or land in prison. Although some community services are available to HCZ residents only, results show that students who live outside the HCZ experience similar benefits simply from attending the Promise Academy. That is, Dobbie and Fryer do not find any additional benefits associated with the resident-only supplementary services that distinguish the Promise Neighborhoods approach.

In many instances, the mean scores for children who live within the zone are school leadership contributes to student achievement education essay than those for nonresidents, but these differences are not statistically significant. There are two caveats to keep in mind in regard to this finding that support the case for continued experimentation with and evaluation of Promise Neighborhoods.

First, many of the wraparound services offered in the HCZ are provided through the school and are thus available to HCZ residents and nonresidents alike. For instance, all Promise Academy students receive free nutritious meals; medical, dental, and mental health services; and food baskets for their parents.

The services that nonresidents cannot access are things such as tax preparation and financial advising, parenting classes through the Baby College, and job fairs. It may be that both groups of students are accessing the most beneficial supplementary services.

Therefore, we may have to wait until a cohort of students has progressed through that pipeline before we can get a full picture of how these comprehensive services have benefited them. The first cohort to complete the entire HCZ program is expected to graduate from high school in 2020.

The main drawback of the Promise Neighborhoods model is its high cost. If future research can demonstrate that the HCZ positively influences longer-term outcomes such as college graduation rates, income, and mortality, the model will hold tremendous potential that may well justify its costs.

Early Childhood Education Early childhood programs can provide a source of enrichment for needy children, ensuring them a solid start in a world where those with inadequate education are increasingly marginalized. Neuroscientists estimate that about 90 percent of the brain develops between birth and age 5, supporting the case for expanded access to early childhood programs. Four years before James Coleman released his report, a group of underprivileged, at-risk toddlers at the Perry Preschool in Ypsilanti, Michigan, were randomly selected for a preschool intervention that consisted of daily coaching from highly trained teachers as well as visits to their homes.

After just one year, those in the experimental treatment group were registering IQ scores 10 points higher than their peers in the control group.

  1. Many teachers recognize that this is not the right avenue for them.
  2. Even small differences in access to the activities and experiences that are known to promote brain development can accumulate. What Do Teacher Leaders Do?
  3. And the recently launched George W. Non-cognitive skills are increasingly gaining popularity because they provide a better explanation for academic and professional outcomes.
  4. However, this finding only applied for participants who had the marshmallow in plain site and were placed without any distraction tactics. Non-cognitive skills are increasingly gaining popularity because they provide a better explanation for academic and professional outcomes.

Studies of the Head Start program, for instance, have uncovered mixed evidence of its effectiveness. Such results have led many to question whether quality can be consistently maintained when a program such as Head Start is implemented broadly. Under this system, schools cannot serve as the equal-opportunity engines of our society.

Instead, residential assignment often replicates within the school system the same family advantages and disadvantages that exist in the community. An analysis of more than 100 small schools of choice in New York City between 2002 and 2008 revealed a 9. Positive results have also been observed with respect to student test scores for charter schools in New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, and New Orleans.

Small schools of choice might also build the social capital that Coleman considered crucial for student success. First, small schools are well positioned to build a strong sense of community through the development of robust student-teacher, parent-teacher, and student-student relationships. A small school of choice also engenders a voluntary community that comes together over strong ties and shared values. Typically, schools of choice feature a clearly defined mission and set of core values, which may derive from religious traditions and beliefs.

The Notre Dame ACE Academy schools, for instance, strive for the twin goals of preparing students for college and for heaven. By explicitly defining their mission, schools can appeal to families who share their values and are eager to contribute to the growth of the community.

A focused mission also helps school administrators attract like-minded teachers and thus promotes staff collegiality.

Academic achievement

A warm and cohesive teaching staff can be particularly beneficial for children from unstable homes, whose parents may not regularly express emotional closeness or who fail to communicate effectively.

Exposure to well-functioning adult role models at school might compensate for such deficits, promoting well-being and positive emotional development. Implications for Policy Determining the causal relationships between family background and child well-being has posed a daunting challenge.

Family characteristics are often tightly correlated with features of the neighborhood environment, making it difficult to determine the independent influences of each. But getting a solid understanding of causality is critical to the debate over whether to intervene inside or outside of school.

The results of quasi-experimental research, as well as common sense, tell us that children who grow up in stable, well-resourced families have significant advantages over their peers who do not—including access to better schools and other educational services. But in attacking the achievement gap, as his research would imply, we need to mobilize not only our schools but also other institutions.

Promise Neighborhoods offer cradle-to-career supports to help children successfully navigate the challenges of growing up.