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Teacher Quality Key to Common Core Success!

October 3, 2013

A recent op-ed in USA Today caught our attention here at BetterLesson. The article (written by Lisa Vanderkam) posits that the single biggest factor in the success or failure of the new Common Core Standards is teacher quality. We here at BetterLesson firmly believe that teachers are critical to the effective implementation of the new standards, and that is why in we have partnered with both the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and more recently with the National Education Association, to highlight the work of exceptional “Master Teachers”.

The first rounds of Common Core aligned testing in New York and Kentucky have done little to inspire confidence that the transition to the Common Core (now officially adopted in 45 states) will be a smooth one.  Poorer than expected performances have many parents and politicians searching for answers. More and more, researchers are recognizing the outsized influence of teachers on student achievement. Economist Eric Hanushek has calculated that replacing the bottom 7%-12% of U.S. teachers with average teachers would rocket the U.S. to the academic company of the world’s highest-performing countries.  Now more than ever, it’s critical we illuminate effective, thoughtful teaching practices!

With the Master Teacher Project, BetterLesson hopes to shed a light on the practices of “masterful” educators.  The first Master Teacher Project ( funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) showcases the work of 42 math Master Teachers working in grades 6-12. Our most recent Master Teacher Project, created in partnership with the NEA, will highlight the talents of 96 math and ELA teachers in grades K-12. By September of 2014, our exceptional MTs will have covered the Common Core Standards from top to bottom.  The MTP aims to go far beyond basic lesson plans; we are filming all 138 Master Teachers at work to create a living, breathing body of knowledge around effective teaching. Want to see a great teacher differentiate? How about “Cold Call”? Not sure what a math practice is? Terrified of tackling non-fiction in an English class? Our MTs will light the way. We hope that by showcasing the work of a few amazing educators on our site, (and offering their lessons free, forever!) we can have a measurable impact on the lives of students around the country. Teachers improve when they collaborate,  and BetterLesson offers them the venue to “share what works” and learn from each other’s success.

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