Shock study: getting rid of crappy teachers improves student performance

The Miami Herald Contributor
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Dozens of struggling Miami-Dade schools benefited in recent years from the forced transfers of hundreds of teachers, according to newly published research.

Beginning in the fall of 2009 and ending in 2012, principals in 73 schools identified and transferred 375 low-performing teachers “in the best interest” of the school district. The result: Test scores improved notably under new teachers who stepped in to replace those transferred.

The study was published this month in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management by professors from Vanderbilt and Stanford universities who for years have been examining Miami-Dade County Public Schools data. “Despite claims that school districts need flexibility in teacher assignment to allocate teachers more equitably across schools and improve district performance, the power to involuntarily transfer teachers across schools remains hotly contested,” wrote Jason Grissom, an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development and the lead author of the study. “Little research has examined involuntary teacher transfer policies or their effects on schools, teachers or students.”

Full story: Study: Struggling Miami-Dade schools benefited from teacher transfers