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Do Teachers Undercut Our “Relevance” By Pointing Out Other Factors That Affect Student Achievement?


Alexander Russo began what I thought was an interesting and useful conversation on Twitter by posting a link to an article suggesting that teachers don’t help themselves by pointing out that factors outside of school have a greater affect on student achievement than what happens in school.

I’ve used Storify to share the conversation:

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. I’ve thought about this question myself…I included this in a recent post — We can paint ourselves into a corner by stressing external factors too much…but to me, this still frames the argument quite narrowly on traditional notions of “achievement” — the way to avoid the trap, as i say in my post, is to articulate an entirely different education paradigm based on social justice..

  2. I often think the discussions/messages sent about parent engagement have to be considered in this as well. I think my comment on this post relates/explains somewhat:

  3. I think we do ourselves a disservice when we make it an either/or or polarized debate (as some have done). We know poverty, etc have a significant impact on student learning… but we also know that teachers have the most significant impact on a child’s K-12 education. We need to work to lessen the impact of poverty as a society AND as teachers, we need to understand that we can do very little to control this in the short term so focus on what we can affect – our ‘classrooms’.

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