Phi Beta Cons

Romer: Many HS Grads Not Prepared for College

In a piece on NRO today, Roy Romer (former Colorado governor and head of the Los Angeles schools) observes that many high-school grads are woefully unprepared for college. True — a point that has been made many times but certainly bears repeating.

I bring it up because of yesterday’s discussion about this problem. Romer argues that we can upgrade the educational achievement of the students in poor schools (such as in LA) by getting the best teachers to teach in them.
Wouldn’t that mean shuffling the bad teachers off to other schools? If the really important variable is teacher quality, doesn’t Romer’s solution just redistribute the problem?
Furthermore, it probably requires a certain personality type to deal successfully with inner-city kids. Occasionally, someone like the famed Jaime Escalante surfaces and finds ways to motivate them to learn, but I doubt that most of the excellent teachers Romer has in mind would be able to tolerate the environment in the inner-city schools and wouldn’t stay there if you tripled their salaries. 

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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