"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"A great teacher can offer an escape from poverty." Really?

Using some of those Harvard econometrics from Raj Chetty, Obama precedes the ridiculous "escape from poverty" contention with this emerging statisti-meme:
We know a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000.
Even if this speculation could be practically demonstrated, which it can't, here's what it would mean.

So divide the $250,000 by 25 kids to a classroom (next year you can add 5 students to this number), then divide that by 45 years (next year add 5 years to that number), and you get a grand total of $222 per year per child.  An "escape from poverty"?  That won't even buy you an annual subway ride from the Bronx to Manhattan, much less an escape from poverty.

By the way, $222 is what Newt Romney made every 5 minutes last year from his interest income of $22 million. So yes, Mr. President, do say more about income inequality and how teachers offer an escape from poverty.  We're all listening.

1 comment:

  1. I actually have a post on my blog Class Notes regarding Chetty's study, as well as one on Obama's comments last night. http://www.classnotesblog.net/