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Highly Effective Teachers of Vulnerable Students

Practice Transcending Theory

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Edited By Mary Poplin and Claudia Bermudez

Highly Effective Teachers of Vulnerable Students contains the quintessential details of highly effective teachers working with students who live in poverty inside our public schools and community colleges. This book features the words and actions of the teachers that can inspire and direct any current or future teacher who wants to be great and be a part of inspiring young people to fulfill their potential. This is the grist we need to spark a reinvigorated critical national conversation about what it takes to really have highly effective teachers in low-income public schools and whether we have the moral courage to work as hard as they do to make educational equity a reality in our nation.

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14. “He never leaves someone behind”: Effective Practice Informing Policy and Theory (Mary Poplin)

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14. “He never leaves someone behind”: Effective Practice Informing Policy and Theory

MARY POPLIN

“We can, whenever and wherever we choose, successfully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us. We already know more than we need to do that. Whether or not we do it must finally depend on how we feel about the fact that we haven’t so far.”

—Ron Edmonds, “Effective Schools for the Urban Poor”

Collectively, the preceding chapters have painted a detailed picture of highly effective teachers teaching in communities with fewer economic assets, schools with fewer resources, and students faced with more challenges. These were not teachers in charters or private schools unencumbered by local, state and federal rules and regulations; they were in public schools and colleges and tutoring centers that are typical of those in most economically depressed communities. These teachers were undaunted by the challenges, perhaps even inspired by them, as suggested in the student quotation included in the title of this chapter.

There were no clear demographic distinctions among our highly effective teachers. The highly effective teachers were largely experienced; the average years of experience was 18 (range was 3–45 years). The average age was 44 (range 22–68). Forty-one percent had never gone through student teaching. They closely matched the demographics of their respective districts’ teaching force. The teachers’ ethnicities were 56% White, 36% Latino, 6% Black, and 3%...

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