Monday, February 06, 2006

A Noble New Program

New York City schools today started the small-group instruction included in its latest teacher contract, and though there will be debate for years about how much it actually helps, it is a pretty exciting addition to my day. Four mornings a week, we teach eight to 10 students for 37 and a half minutes -- at my school, that time is being used to work on math word problem solving.

Everyone agrees that individual attention is a major way to get students to achieve, and it is pretty powerful that about 300,000 New York City children will get just that opportunity nearly every day of the year. This is not an extra tutoring program or a costly afterschool program -- it is built into the day and includes every single one of the more than 80,000 New York City teachers. I really do not know if there is precedent for such a program, but if there is not, I think this will be precedent-setting. It would be hard for this sort of thing not to be very helpful for the low-achieving students at which it is aimed.


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