While it might be tempting to conclude that simply increasing teacher autonomy would dramatically improve American public education, Tucker, from the National Center on Education and the Economy, assured me it’s not a silver bullet.
“You give people more autonomy when you’re confident that they can do the job if they have it,” he said. “And the countries that give [teachers] more autonomy successfully are countries that have made an enormous investment in changing the pool from which they are selecting their teachers, then they make a much bigger investment than we do in the education of their future teachers, then they make a much bigger investment in the support of those teachers once they become teachers. If you don’t do all those things, and all you do is give more autonomy to teachers, watch out.”
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