I've been binge-listening to all the old episodes of Vox's policy podcast The Weeds-- and while I'm not sure if I'm retaining all that much, I am learning how little I know about how government policy works-- which is always the first step in getting smarter-- anyway, this episode taught me about a Brookings Institution study by Thomas Kane that finds that good textbooks are clearly linked to academic success (especially in fourth and fifth grade math) and buying new textbooks is an easier solution than replacing mediocre or poor teachers with better teachers-- it's much harder to find good teachers and/or train them, and firing bad teachers takes time and resources-- and the gains from having a good textbook are significant, as Kane explains:
student achievement would rise overall roughly an average of 3.6 percentile points . . . although it might sound small, such a boost in the average teacher’s effectiveness would be larger than the improvement the typical teacher experiences in their first three years on the job, as they are just learning to teach . . .
which is a HUGE gain, because the difference between a first-year teacher and third year teacher is the difference between pandemonium and order; I also learned all about the new education policy that replaced No Child Left Behind in this episode and why there might be less standardized testing in our future. . . and this article is a nice summary of some of the lessons learned from what didn't work with the previous national education policies . . . and the takeaway from this rambling sentence is that you've got to feel dumber to get smarter.