Very interesting item from the Economist: “How to be top: What works in education: the lessons according to McKinsey.“
…[A]n organisation from outside the teaching fold—McKinsey, a consultancy that advises companies and governments—has boldly gone where educationalists have mostly never gone: into policy recommendations based on the [OECD‘s Programme for International Student Assessment] PISA findings. Schools, it says, need to do three things: get the best teachers; get the best out of teachers; and step in when pupils start to lag behind…Begin with hiring the best. There is no question that, as one South Korean official put it, “the quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.” Studies in Tennessee and Dallas have shown that, if you take pupils of average ability and give them to teachers deemed in the top fifth of the profession, they end up in the top 10% of student performers; if you give them to teachers from the bottom fifth, they end up at the bottom. The quality of teachers affects student performance more than anything else. Yet most school systems do not go all out to get the best.
The whole piece is definitely worth a read.