By Dr. Marciene Mattleman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Data from a new study show that teachers who help raise test scores of elementary and middle school students have a positive effect far beyond academics – lowering teen pregnancy rates and increasing college matriculation and adult learning.
Economists Raj Jetty and John Friedman of Harvard with Jonah Rockoff of Columbia University provide in depth evidence tracking achievement of 2.5 million students over 20 years. The research is the largest of “value-added ratings which measure the impact of individual teachers on student test scores, according to an article in The New York Times.
A student with one excellent teacher for a year between 4th and 8th grade would gain $4600 in lifetime income. Replacing a poor teacher with an average one would raise lifetime earnings of a class by $266,000.
While there are detractors of such studies who are concerned about the disruption of replacing poor teachers, this research shows that good teaching lasts forever and should not be ignored.