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The UK’s professional educators are under attack again, this time by the Public Accounts Committee, but are bad teachers really the problem? The overwhelming answer is no. The UK continues to pump out highly qualified and desirable teachers, however, student learning has not improved because several vital parts of student achievement are being ignored. Studies suggest that up to 85% of student performance is determined by what is going on outside the classroom. The ‘classroom effect’, parent involvement, and social class must be considered when determining student performance. The ‘classroom effect’ boils down to peer influence. Students need a positive peer group, other students with whom they can relate on the basis of looks or behavior, who influence better educational performance.
Lack of a diverse peer group has a hugely negative effect on student performance in areas of class segregation. Younger children in diverse classrooms are achieving some of the best Math and English scores in all English speaking countries. On the contrary, older children in disadvantaged schools are receiving unfairly low ETI inspections scores, and their teachers have become the scapegoats for underachieving students. Bad teachers do exist, but are properly sanctioned and normally receive the resources they need to improve. The real issue effecting the students’ performance, class segregation, remains on the back burner.