"You're not supposed to lower your expectations for the student whose heroine-addicted mother told her to get the hell out of her house last night and whose father is in prison. Instead, you should raise them. We have truckloads of evidence that shows that you don't have to change a child's home environment, her relationships with her peers, her predisposition to substance abuse, or her natural tendency to comprehend whatever it is you're trying to teach. No. All you have to change is the educator standing in front of her. Look at Michelle Rhee or William Taylor or Jason Kamras. Those people confronted the realities of the everyday urban classroom and helped students make huge gains without changing poverty, providing excellent parenting, or eradicating racism,"
"But the reality is that while a teacher can make a big difference in how much a group of students can learn, s/he will never be able to compensate for some of the challenges that many of his or her students have unfortunately entered the classroom with. The myth of teacher who manages to take a classroom with 10% of students on grade-level to a classroom with 100% of students on grade-level in their first or second year of teaching may not be a total lie, but I'm tempted to believe that there's probably either some data fabrication involved or tremendous stroke of luck in getting a classroom full of students who, while academically behind, were willing to give up afternoons and weekends to do the work in a lot of those stories."
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