New Ed Trust report on improving school working conditions

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A report issued yesterday by the Ed Trust examines how improved working conditions at high-poverty schools -- such as providing teachers with access to free meals and haircuts, and on-site doctors -- could support effective teaching and increased learning by the students who need it most.  No, wait...Those are perks offered to Google employees as frosting-on-the-cake in a work environment that is already functional. What the Ed Trust really suggests is that districts can change currently dysfunctional work environments that are all too common in high-poverty schools with initiatives that any successful organization such as Google would take for granted: recruiting talented school leaders and teacher teams, keeping close tabs on working conditions and making them a part of meaningful evaluation systems, and feeding professional growth.

Won't the fact that teachers in high-poverty schools have to cope with high-poverty students still be a problem? No, because -- as borne out by surveys and the five district case studies in the report -- teacher satisfaction is more influenced by the culture of a school than by the demographics of its students.

Julie Greenberg