There are two boys from the same urban neighborhood, who are in the same grade at different schools. One leaves his fifth grade year testing way above his grade level, along with 90% of his classmates. The other boy finished below grade level, just like he started. Why the difference? Not the curriculum or the school, but the teacher.
Teach for America, which places recent college grads in teaching positions in urban school settings, has the proof that the teacher makes a difference. Studying over 20 years of data, the program identifies characteristics such as history of perseverance, life satisfaction, and leadership achievement as contributors to exceptional teachers. Simply put, we must “identify great teachers, figure out how they got that way, and then create more of them.” See more here about how children get ahead because of great teachers.