MacArthur genius awards for 2012 went to (among others) a mandolinist/composer, a pediatric neurosurgeon, a marine ecologist, a documentary filmmaker, a conceptual photographer, a mathematician, an
arts entrepreneur and a Washington Post journalist (yeah David Finkel).
What profession wasn’t on the list? If you picked a stringed-instrument bow maker, you are wrong.
But if you picked a public school teacher, you’ve got it right. There wasn’t a principal on it, either.
Interestingly, someone who did make the list is 33-year-old Raj Chetty, a Harvard economist who, the MacArthur Foundation said, studies how “policy decisions affect real-world behavior.”
Chetty, along with John Friedman of Harvard and Jonah Rockoff of Columbia University, studied the school records and income tax records of 2.5 million students in a major urban district over a 20-year period.
Their conclusion: Good teachers cause students to get higher test scores and that leads to higher lifetime earnings for students, fewer teen pregnancies, and higher college-going rates. That sounds good, but there were some problems with the study.
Here are two critiques that may interest you.