A reader sent this article about the schools run by the Department of Defense for children of military personnel.
These schools have a high mobility rate, as military families move; they have a high poverty rate, because military personnel are not paid large salaries; they have a large proportion of black and Hispanic students, reflecting the makeup of the volunteer military (where there is more opportunity and security for minorities than in the civilian workforce today).
Yet these students regularly do very well on the NAEP.
What are the secrets of the DOD schools?
Small classes. Equal resources across all schools. High expectations. A very involved parent body. Well-behaved students. Regular assessments to see if students are keeping up and understanding the lessons.
Happy teachers, who have “high pay, ample instructional supplies, plentiful professional development, and few student behavior problems.” Teachers say “…they are very encouraged and appreciative of the high-level of training they receive and continue to receive” And, “There are many, many opportunities for professional growth, and they have all the [classroom] resources they need. They are treated like professionals by administrators, parents, and the military.”
It all sounds obvious, doesn’t it? No Race to the Top for the military. They have respectful students and engaged parents and all the resources and training they need.
Are there any secrets here? No.
Wouldn’t it be great if all our public schools had equal resources? Wouldn’t it be great if public schools offered all the professional training and support that teachers need? Wouldn’t it be great if all public schools could say they have engaged parents and no behavior problems? Wouldn’t it be great if all public schools had small classes like the DOD?