Teachers—One of Our Most Powerful Tools in Education
The year is 1996. Alanis Morissette croons about how life can be ironic, young people are shaking their hips and hands to the Macarena, the Nintendo 64 has just been released, and Tom Cruise is dominating the box office with Jerry McGuire and Mission: Impossible. While we can certainly look back on these trends and trivia about the times, it’s hard to say that any of these things had any major cultural significance.
1996 also saw the publication of a key article developed by the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. The report, titled What Matters Most: Teaching for America’s Future, pointed out something that common sense would dictate to most anyone, yet still seems strangely elusive: the single most important factor in the effectiveness of a child’s education is the teacher. While this was not a new notion, this report, based on hundreds of studies, initiated a growing movement to identify, train, and retain good teachers.