Danielle Scorrano: [00:00:00] Welcome Dr. Matthew Kraft to the READ Podcast.
Dr. Matthew Kraft: Thanks so much for having me.
Danielle Scorrano: Thank you for being here. I'm so excited to talk to you. One of the reasons why I love the READ Podcast is it gives our listeners this opportunity to hear and to learn from leaders in research and education and particularly leaders who inspire me. And for me, it is so special to be able to follow your career, particularly because it has impacted me. I admire the work that you've been doing. And to give our listeners a little insight, I like to start with a little story about how I've typically met with the guests because there's some story how I've been following work.
So I know that you and I had met the 2017 ed summit hosted by Dr. Angela Duckworth and the character lab. And I remember, okay, listeners picture this, I'm sitting in the second row. And I remember watching you present on the research on teacher quality. And I was thinking. This is so unbelievably cool. [00:01:00] You know, you were able to present a lot of data in such a way that resonated with me as a teacher at the time. You were presenting some heavy stuff, some big quantitative studies, and I was just so excited to dig into it. And you know, over the years, we've connected a few times about your research on coaching. I have to say, thank you so much for being so open and forthcoming with the work that you've been sharing. So I'm excited for our listeners to have a little window in how you're changing the game of education. Can you introduce yourself to our listeners? So I know you are a professor at Brown University. So what do you do? What are your areas of research?
Dr. Matthew Kraft: Well of late, I've had the experience of running a daddy school for two little kiddos at home during the pandemic and have dappled in, you know, snow removal and all the things that one does on the side of their main gig. And for me, that main gig is, I am a professor of education and economics at Brown University, where my research [00:02:00] largely focuses on teacher effectiveness in the teacher labor market, uh, in the context of teachers work within schools. So how do schools shape what teachers are able to achieve in the classroom? What are the types of federal state and district level policies that influence who decides to teach what they do in their classroom and whether they decide to stay in it? You know, not surprisingly, those are questions that really had a spotlight shown on them in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, where there's just so many challenges for teachers and big questions about who's going to stay. And if those teachers end up not staying, who would be willing to step in and their place
Danielle Scorrano: I appreciate you mentioning the pandemic. It's interesting when I've been recording the during the COVID-19 pandemic, because to hear the experiences, I love how you started with the daddy school for two. That's really something that you're shedding light on so many [00:03:00] things that we need to do outside of work. But when you talk about the study of economics of education and particularly looking at teachers, what do you mean by that? And what are the benefits and framing your research through this?
Dr. Matthew Kraft: That's a great question. And one that in a master's course that I'm teaching right now, my students appropriately challenged me to kind of answer. And I think my answer has evolved over time, but at the end of the day, I think the most powerful research is done in an interdisciplinary way. That means research, that draws on insights, methods, and ideas from a range of different disciplinary backgrounds and approaches. And the one that I have the most formal training and experience in is in applied microeconomics. And so I think that that is a toolkit, particularly for conducting [00:04:00] quantitative research where we really want to be able to say, what is the effect of some policy X on some student outcome Y and the toolkit for causal inference for being extremely confident that you can say that something caused some outcome to change is really, I think, a key contribution of the field of economics to education policy research. In addition to thinking about things like opportunity costs and making tough decisions with scarcity and thinking about cost benefits and all the things that policymakers and districts are having to grapple with particularly right now is they are fair faced with major challenges and they have federal funds, but they need to spend them. And there will be a financial cliff that comes. And so I think economics is that helpful toolkit, both from a theoretical standpoint [00:05:00] and a methodological standpoint that compliments the work that we need to do in parallel, which is finding out whether or not a policy worked is just the beginning. You need to ask, well, why did it work or why didn't it work? What happened in the implementation that facilitated that success or hindered it and how might it be adapted and can it be scaled? And those are all questions that you need to get on the ground and talk to people and collect a range of different kinds of case studies, survey method, type data.
Danielle Scorrano: I love how you started with that. Even some of the unintended consequences of why something led to another intervention led to another. As you're talking, I'm brought back to my first year in my doctorate program at Johns Hopkins University. So I'm excited to share this podcast episode with some of my professors to share with the students that are going through disciplinary approaches to education. And, you know, I wish we had spoken when I had to take my comp exams because these are great examples I could have [00:06:00] used to pass.
Now you talk a lot about quantitative methods and digging into the economics of education. I want to actually take a step back and learn more about your background. How did you even become interested in studying the issues and trends in education?
Dr. Matthew Kraft: So it kind of all started with an interest in international relations and international development. I thought I might eventually one day work in the foreign service. And as I learned more and more about the process through which nations go through a developmental arc, you know, one thing that stood out to me was the incredibly important role of national education systems. And so, trying to focus more on understanding how education can facilitate both individual opportunity and macro-economic growth and opportunity at the country [00:07:00] level. And so I ended up focusing my lens there and after having studied abroad started to ask questions about. Maybe I have something to contribute on the line to support the development of an expansion of education opportunity in other countries, but it's pretty humbling to have gone back to the United States after spending time abroad and be able to walk into schools where we're not doing a very good job at all serving the students in our own public schools, many of whom are recent immigrants from the countries where we might aspire to develop the education systems to expand opportunity. And so I felt like it was most responsible and I had the most kind of to contribute in my own backyard by supporting the efforts to improve public instruction in United States.
Danielle Scorrano: Hmm, that's really interesting. And again, we have a lot more to talk about because I went [00:08:00] down a similar path, but I liked how you talked about how the global impact of education, and then focusing on our own country. And I want to, you mentioned teacher wellbeing, teacher effectiveness at the beginning of this episode or of our conversation. And when I started preparing for this interview, I have to say it was both easy and hard because I have read so many of, so much of your work. So many of the studies that you've done from your meta analyses to some of the other experimental studies that you've done, and then I found more in the past few weeks.
And so we could go in a lot of different directions, which is amazing. But like I had said at the beginning of the interview, when I had seen you speak at the Character Lab Summit, you talked about teacher effectiveness. And so now fast forward to 2022 to my current role at The Windward Institute. In addition to my work in my doctorate program, my dissertation focuses on how we build teacher [00:09:00] effectiveness for early reading, early career reading teachers. And in your research, what have you learned about teacher effectiveness? Even before we get to that, how do you operationalize and frame the term teacher effectiveness?
Dr. Matthew Kraft: Well, it it's a loaded term in the wake of all of these policy efforts to measure effectiveness and use it for incentives and accountability and pay and career opportunities. And so I'd step back and to say having been a substitute teacher, having been a public school teacher, I am humbled by the work that teachers are doing in classrooms across the U.S. and even more so in the wake of all the challenges that have washed ashore on our classroom, that our classroom doors with the COVID pandemic. And so certainly we need to recognize that there's no one uniform [00:10:00] narrow definition of what is effective or not as being a teacher, but we can all agree and I would argue that we aspire to continue to improve the instruction that we deliver in classrooms across the country. And so part of that is asking, well, what did more effective instructional moves or student teacher relationships look like? And I think what I've learned over the course of the decade plus of research that I've conducted in this area, teacher effectiveness is dynamic, meaning it changes over time. Teachers get better. It is context specific, meaning someone isn't just a amazing teacher at everything they do. They might be a really good teacher for teaching about fractions, but less so about arithmetic or even more broadly an elementary school teacher might be stronger at teaching science and [00:11:00] math and they are English and history.
It's also that you may be a particularly strong teacher for working in one type of school, maybe a school that has a lot smaller class sizes and focuses on serving one student population. And then you go to a different school and a different context. It's just not as conducive to the skills that you bring. Maybe you are a specialist in project-based learning, but you go to another school and they're just much more kind of by the book, kids in rows, going through the routine. And so it's both dynamic context specific and multidimensional, this notion that you can kind of be good while struggling in other dimensions. And that's where I think the work on coaching that I've done kind of builds on that, which is to say, Hey, everyone likely has an area that they can improve on. How can we help teachers to do that?
Danielle Scorrano: Hmm, I'm edging towards coaching because I know it's something I want to dive in with deeply with you, but to summarize your talk, the [00:12:00] effectiveness of a teacher is context-specific, it's dynamic it's multi-dimensional. And in the research that you, actually let me back up a little bit. I liked the way that you summarize that. And I keep mentioning the 2017 Character Lab video, but your research spans way much more than that, but I like where you summarize your research and saying, okay, instead of saying, how effective is a teacher, how is a teacher effective and what skills and resources are needed for that teacher to continue to grow?
And I think that brings in to the first notion, you know, as someone who just left the classroom, oh, my gosh, right at the beginning of the pandemic. So not last year with the year before, and I constantly framed my work as this pursuit of mastery and this pursuit of growth. And so I like how you framed it that way. When you talk about context specific, I know you've done some research on that. So how important is context and climate on influencing teacher effectiveness or how a teacher frames themselves as [00:13:00] effective.
Dr. Matthew Kraft: So this question of working conditions or student learning conditions at the same time, I think is really important. We have to ask, how does the school in which teachers may work influence what's possible for them? And certainly we know from both student and teacher survey data that working conditions vary dramatically across schools, even, even so in the inside the same. And what do we mean by that? We mean not only the kind of traditional brick and mortar type things that you might think about, does the science lab have microscopes? Are the AC and the HVAC up-to-date and do all classrooms have whiteboards and maybe all the materials you might expect? But even more important are those interpersonal working condition elements, the [00:14:00] aspects of relational trust and cooperation, and a collective effort for improvement and a culture of kind of open door policies of let's watch each other teach and learn. And when you measure these elements of different schools, you end up finding it's those interpersonal elements that appear to be most related to teachers' performance and students' improvement.
And that when you actually compare novice teachers, some of whom start out in schools with less supportive working conditions, relative to others and more supportive working conditions compared to where each of those teachers started, even if someone was a high flyer and another person came in and they were struggling just relative to their own starting points. You see the teachers who are in more supportive working conditions in [00:15:00] schools, improve their practice in their contributions to student learning faster and longer over their careers.
Danielle Scorrano: This is a question that just popped in my head. I don't know if you can answer. Maybe you probably could answer this, but have you noticed, you talk about working conditions and interpersonal relationships. Have you noticed a difference between, let's say a novice teachers access to formal professional development supports like a professional learning community or a coaching versus how a teacher sees themselves with their informal collegial relationships like mentors or having other novice teachers there? Is there a difference? Are there nuances or do they both have to exist?
Dr. Matthew Kraft: Well, therein lies the attention, excuse me, the tension within what we had hoped to accomplish with formal teacher evaluation systems, which is to both evaluate teachers performance [00:16:00] and provide formative feedback to help them improve. And I think what we've learned from a range of studies, both quantitative and qualitative and mixed methods is that it's really hard to have teachers be vulnerable and willing to recognize there are areas of improvement when there are high stakes attached to that process. And so we see encouraging evidence in particular, when teachers have a mentor or an instructional coach, or even a peer in the same building, provide them with specific action and detailed feedback of things that they could try in their classroom and see if that helps to improve their instruction and do that on a sustained iterative basis. That's possible [00:17:00] within the evaluation framework, but it's incredibly hard to do because it takes a school leader who's often the person who does the evaluations, the ability to kind of wear two hats and being an evaluator and a trusted coach and to have the instructional expertise to do that across a whole bunch of grades or a whole bunch of subjects. And so, I think that we're learning that it may be that the best opportunity for teachers to be open. Because it's a two-way road here just perceiving feedback. One way is not going to improve anyone. You have to be able to be open to that feedback, be willing to reflect, be open to trying new things and maybe getting some wrong for any improvements to take place.
Danielle Scorrano: I like how you said that feedback is that key in every industry, any walk of life. That it's a reciprocal, vulnerable practice. I'm debating which way I want to go. I want [00:18:00] to ask about teacher wellbeing and COVID, but I think I'll save that to the end. You did talk about school leadership and I'm coming at the role of school leaders through a reading lens. And there's been a lot of different research that I've read about how important it is for a school leader, whether it be a principal or an instructional leader, or a curriculum director to have that instructional expertise. In your research, what other skills must leaders have in order to support teachers other than this instructional expertise.
Dr. Matthew Kraft: Leaders have to have these instructional expertise and that can be across content areas that can be across grade levels and the intersection of those two. But beyond that, you'd have to be able to form a strong rapport with your teachers so that there is that reciprocal trust and openness. And you have to, I think create a school culture that's not just about one on one relationships, but it's about a collective [00:19:00] commitment to continuous improvement and a willingness to say, we may be doing a good job. We are committed to doing a great job and that move from good to great. I think. One of the most challenging things in education, because it takes people out of their comfort zone to try something new.
And that is not always our kind of natural instinct. When we feel like we're reasonably successful with how we've always done it, so I'm going to keep doing it that way and let the kind of policy machinations of the leaders that come and go. Pass over my head. And so I think it's about that broader culture that leaders cultivate and it's also about demonstrating a willingness to lead with kind of a collective distributed leadership where you listen to your teachers and say, Hey, there's a lot of expertise in the building beyond me. How can I facilitate and coordinate [00:20:00] and tap into that rather than thinking that I am the individual who has knowledge that needs to be in part?
Danielle Scorrano: You're just speaking my language anywhere from instructional expertise to current theory and research on leadership. I'm getting so excited by this. So as you talk about leadership, you've mentioned coaching. And I'm thinking back to your 2014 study that that looked at climate, school climate and heterogeneous teacher outcomes. And I guess it was heterogeneity in teacher development. How does professional development fit into climate and working conditions?
Dr. Matthew Kraft: So, yeah, academics like myself, like to throw in these fancy words in our titles, when we can really just say things in a much more plain language way, which is to say, hey, some teachers improve at different rates faster than other and professional development plays a key role. And what's interesting is we think about professional development as [00:21:00] this formalized process of I'm going to PD it's happening now, it'll start and then it'll end. And that is the PD thing. And there's a long literature of relatively disappointing results evaluating traditional professional development programs. Any teacher would say you don't have to do a study to tell me that I could have told you that myself, but what I do think we're also learning is that PD is broad and flexible. If we're willing to think about, well, you know, it's can PD work in teams among grade level colleagues or, you know, subject level colleagues. Can it be a kind of lesson study approach? Can it be about coaching? Or can it be about peer observation and feedback?
And if we take that broader, more expansive version of defining PD, I think what it [00:22:00] does is it allows us to innovate in a way that the macro concept of PD can be very meaningful rather than just simply, Hey, PD doesn't work. Like why bother? We need to bother. Well, we've accomplished a lot over the arc of the development of our U.S. public education system. You know, anyone could look at our graduation rates or the, you know, achievement debts that we owe students who aren't able to access equal educational opportunity and say, we're not where we need.
Danielle Scorrano: You mentioned coaching. And now we're at the big moment where I'm so excited. I mean, my chair might lift off. I know you've done a lot of work in coaching and, and in the research that I've read and as I'm doing my dissertation, it provides this dynamic personal opportunity for teachers to grow with an instructional coach. And in the research that you've done, I know you found effectiveness of coaching. There's a potential to coaching as well. And [00:23:00] there are challenges for scalability and fidelity of implementation. And so at first I want to start about your research on what you found in the positive aspects of coaching, and the potential for it. And then we'll get into some of the challenges that you found and some implications for that.
Dr. Matthew Kraft: When you look at the education research literature, and you've focused on gold standard research designs in terms of causal inference, does X cause Y, you focus on randomized controlled trials. The types of studies that the federal government has been doing to evaluate whether a vaccine is safe or not. You flip a coin and some person participates in the treatment and then another person doesn't you do that a whole bunch of times. And it's really beautiful because it allows you to rule out all other possible explanations for any differences in those two groups on average, other than the thing that the researchers manipulated. And in the case of coaching, my coauthors and I [00:24:00] reviewed a body of literature that was narrowly defined as these kinds of causal research designs. And what we found was coaching on average improved student achievement to a degree that is rarely seen in education, just writ large interventions. So, you know, we're talking about improvements that are more technically about a fifth of a standard deviation. If you want to benchmark that against some intuition, think about reducing class size and kindergarten from 22 kids to 17 kids about that much of a benefit. That's also far more than on average teachers improve over the course of their careers. A huge lift. For some of the older grades it's equivalent to between a half and say almost a full year of academic learning. And so we see these big potential, average effects across coaching [00:25:00] programs.
Now one should always ask, well, what does that average mask? And the answer is considerable variation across programs. We shouldn't be surprised by that some programs are better than others. Some last longer, some use, you know, folks who are coaches with more experience, better training, more expertise. But overall it was really profound to find a form of PD in under this kind of broad umbrella. It's like, oh, there actually is something here. And so my research, in reviewing the causal literature on coaching and really shine the light on the potential to invest in it, but you, I think we're alluding to challenges that also exist.
And the one I'll just point out briefly and happy to say more about it is that coaching is not cheap. You need to have coaches and the primary cost is [00:26:00] just the salaries of these instructional experts. And if they're working, one-on-one frequently over a sustained amount of time, you can only have them do that with a reasonable amount of teachers. And so it's just an expense. That's sometimes hard for districts to invest in upfront and sustain when they feel like, oh, maybe I could just coach more teachers. If I have the coach only visit a few times instead of 10 or 12 or 15, or maybe if they coached in small groups rather than one-on-one, it loses that personalization.
Danielle Scorrano: It's an interesting point that you bring about the expense of coaching and yes, I mean, you are going to have the individual personal professional development that definitely seems to be one, a resource that many schools maybe just don't have. So what other factors may promote or inhibit coaching to be successful across the school contexts?
Dr. Matthew Kraft: Coaching doesn't happen in a vacuum. And [00:27:00] we've already talked about how the culture of the school can kind of hinder or support the work that's happening inside of it. And so if you had an amazing coach parachute into a school where the culture was closed, your doors, you're on an island. You don't want to share what you're doing too much because someone might point out that you're not doing exactly the right thing or you don't have a lot of trust in the administration. And so you want to keep them at arms length. Then it's unlikely that the coaching that you receive is going to help you to improve. Particularly if there's kind of strict mandates about the coach wants me to do this deep dive project based learning thing, but I've got my curriculum sequencing guide and I can't deviate from that. So there's just no way for me to act on this feedback. And so the culture inside of a school matters a lot. And the time that's available for teachers to engage in this work it takes time to meet with our coach and [00:28:00] to debrief and then the willingness to experiment and encouragement to do that. All of those I think are important factors.
Danielle Scorrano: I like how you talked about financial resources, time, policy, culture, how does this translate then to policy? So policy at the school level policy to state, I don't know. Well, we'll throw in federal just for fun. So let's just say, I've been playing this game on my podcast that I'm giving you this incredible leadership opportunity as the secretary of education, or somehow you have this role where you can have state leaders create these coaching opportunities. So what would you say, what would be the recipe or the list of items or objectives that you would want these leaders to then disseminate on the policy front to make coaching as effective as it could be?
Dr. Matthew Kraft: That's great question. And then certainly not an easy one [00:29:00] because top-down, policy-making in a decentralized and diffuse education system like the United States. It's a very poor tool for ensuring program implementation and fidelity. And that's where the rubber hits the road. And what determines whether or not anything, whether it has worked in the past in small pockets is able to be scaled and actually maintain its effectiveness. What I would hope is that schools would invest in coaching in a sustainable way. So it's not like they get a big grant and they've got it for two years, but then they're just going to have to chop it. And number two. Think about how to leverage available instructional expertise at the district level. Are there folks that are already available in the curriculum development world there, you know, [00:30:00] other pockets that you can leverage? And number three to take advantage of a low cost compliment, which is peer coaching and say, hey, there's a lot of expertise in our building. We can pair people up and commit to the time it takes for having one person observed the outlet and giving them space to have that feedback process. , It matters a lot, both who the coach is, and not trying to, you know, hire anyone that raises their hand. You really need someone with deep instructional expertise to take on this kind of full-time coaching role. But I think complementing that with folks that are in the building is a good way to expand coaching rather than say, I want my coach to coach every single person in the building and needed to see them all the time while the only one that's going to happen is if they start cutting corners and it's going to dilute why I think many of the models that are, have been evaluated were effective. So [00:31:00] basically finding a sustainable way to budget it starting small and not trying to water down the model. And if you can only do it in a small way, that's fine. Focus it on new teachers, focus it on struggling teachers, focus it on teachers that are willing and able to participate in coaching rather than spreading yourself too thin. And then carving out purposely in the schedule time for those conversations to happen. And then third leveraging expertise in the building.
Danielle Scorrano: Mm, yeah. I like how you talked about the prioritization and then the sustainability. I'd spoken to. Dr. Margie Gillis with Literacy How, and her model of coaching, they identified individuals in the building that are the instructional leaders within the building, not only because they have the expertise of the culture, but it's a way for their coaching model to continue to maintain that sustainability.
Now, as you did mention COVID at the beginning of our conversation and [00:32:00] we've hit maybe or surpassed season three of the pandemic, maybe even season 10, I don't know where. But a lot has seemed to change in education. A lot of the fractures that have existed in education have been completely tore open during this time period. So as you look at teacher effectiveness or even just schools at large, what opportunities and challenges have arisen in education due to the pandemic?
Dr. Matthew Kraft: Well, I think the challenges are widely known. We see that despite the allure of new technologies, learning online is just not a substitute for being in a classroom. And we also know, I think now, very compelling evidence that students in large part have struggled. And those students who were being least well served prior to the pandemic have been hit the [00:33:00] hardest particularly communities of color, low income communities whose families more often than not, have to work outside of the household and haven't had flexible schedules to facilitate learning at home, or may not have reliable access to internet and internet enabled devices, or as other research and public health official and has been hardest hit by the health impacts of a pandemic, not to mention the economic impacts.
Certainly we're up against tremendous challenges. There's always bright spots and uplifting stories of kids learning new things and hands-on experiential ways. And I think we should embrace that, but we shouldn't kid ourselves to say that the kids are just all right and that they're just in a new phase of learning. And so as we are in this kind of back to school, navigating the Omicron wave, but moving towards hopefully some more normal. We know [00:34:00] that we need to do things better. We need to do things differently.
And one of the ways that I'm hopeful that schools can do that is by integrating and more personalized individualized instruction. And that's called tutoring in a lot of places. Although many classrooms that has been going on for decades and decades in the form of reading buddies and peer coaching and pullouts and all the things that teachers call that type of work. And the intuition is almost exactly the same as the whole literature on coaching. And frankly, the evidence is equally, if not even more encouraging, in terms of its benefits when you compliment the group type of things that you get in terms of instruction, whether that's a teacher sitting in a big room with PD or a student sitting in a classroom with a whole bunch of students and one teacher, when you move towards more personalized instruction, it's really beneficial.
And so the question is how do we [00:35:00] scale that? How do we develop it and then provide that in a way without following the same pitfalls that scaling coaching might bring, which is watering the model down, dealing with funding cliffs, because tutoring like coaching is about people and you need to find a sustainable source of coaches and tutors and be able to fund their time. And so I think all of those things are ways which we might try to address some of the challenges. I think what we also are seeing is that there can be a really more creative way about how we utilize personnel in school districts and school buildings, the role that teachers aides and paraprofessionals and central office staff might play to tutor a student or take on more of a co-teaching roles or ways in which we can say, hey, you know, is there a way to [00:36:00] get more adults directly involved in student support? I think is another encouraging thing that we can do. Certainly there's also ways in which some of the online tools and asynchronous learning can compliment what is traditionally happening inside classrooms. But it's not a, and here, again, example of kind of an economic lens, which I think is helpful is, we have this thing, but are we trying to use it in place of something? Are we trying to build it around and lift up what already exists? And the pandemic I think has taught us that we can't replace it with these kinds of totally asynchronous, totally distanced based type of educational learning opportunities. We need to build on the core of what always has been in education: in-person instruction with teachers and students because it's about relationships.
Danielle Scorrano: I think the theme of this episode is about relationships. We've talked about relationships in the context of interpersonal relationships for teacher growth, now navigating with [00:37:00] students during the pandemic relationships are at the core, and I appreciate you bringing that up, narrowing it down to that theme and then thinking about how we operationalize those core fundamentals of relationships. I speak on a different podcast and it's with one of my professors at Johns Hopkins and we've turned operationalized to humanize. So I think what you're doing is you're just humanizing all these elements of anywhere from teacher development to students and how we help them during the pandemic. As we finish, I want to return back to some of your work in influencing policy and how your research has influenced areas of policy. And I want to focus now on looking ahead, as we're navigating past the pandemic and rebuilding and adjusting some of the pieces of what we might've lost during the pandemic, what are the predictions or things we should prioritize other than, I guess, in person learning in education and what are some [00:38:00] projects and passions that are exciting you at this moment?
Dr. Matthew Kraft: These are big questions, but the right ones to ask really pivotal and transitional moment for our education system. You know, everyone likes to talk about build back better. We can't go back to the status quo and at the same time, people are exhausted. And I think a lot of people are saying, I hope so dearly that we can just go back to what we were doing, because what we're doing right now is unsustainable. And I'm exhausted and it's a tough time to innovate when all you're trying to do is get every classroom covered by an adult because you can't hire any subs and teachers are home sick and, and you're just trying to keep the buses and trains running on time.
My hope is that, rather than solving for the challenges we're facing in the pandemic, [00:39:00] which although they may not seem like that in the current moment are in the macro sense, shorter term, that we use the pandemic to break down some of the norms and barriers that typically exists around innovation. The pandemic has forced us to say, Hey, like it doesn't matter that we never were willing to do that, we're going to do that now because we just have to, and we use that as a way to pilot and experiment and build out new approaches. More specifically, I mean, integrating and more individualized, personal instruction and complimenting core academic learning with the types of wrap around social services, the school counselors, the college advisors, the psychologist, the social workers that I think the pandemic has [00:40:00] really made clear that students need to learn.
And that we do this in a way., We ask, what is the best use of every adult in the system? And can we kind of ask, how can I more directly link what that adult is doing to service to kids rather than having a very kind of hierarchical, bureaucratic structure inside of schools. And I also think we need to ask very carefully, who is going to teach, who are we attracting into this profession? And what is it going to take to seriously entice the next generation of potential teachers into the profession so that we are able to have a teacher workforce that lives up to the standards of what. I believe students deserve.
Danielle Scorrano: I love the way that you ended up. That's a really good point. Is there anything that [00:41:00] you, that I haven't asked you that you want to mention to our listeners? Anything that you would like to share about your research or passion projects that you're specifically focusing on by yourself or with your colleagues?
Dr. Matthew Kraft: Something that has been really a question that I've been thinking a lot about that I think it would be helpful for all educators policymakers, parents to think about is what would it take in this country for us to think about the teaching profession as a prestigious occupation and an attractive career. And that's not an easy question to answer because what determines whether a career is attractive is multifaceted. And it's certainly about pay and working conditions and about the things that are more measurable, but it's also just about our culture and our [00:42:00] society and where we place value. And I think we have a long way to go to change the trajectory of how we view and respect this profession. Some of it is related to policy, and some of it is related to how we talk about and think about teachers. And so I leave the audience with that question of, what would it take? What's a small way in which each of us can contribute towards elevating this fundamentally important profession in our society?
Danielle Scorrano: Thank you for ending that way. It's something that I'm going to continue to think about too as we continue our episodes on READ. Where can we find you, Dr. Kraft? Where can we learn more about you? Where can listeners become me and just download all the free articles that you are adding onto your website? Tell us more!
Dr. Matthew Kraft: You can find me on Twitter at [00:43:00] @MatthewAKraft. And you can feel free to reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, as well as access my research and other more policy facing memos briefs, blog posts on my website at matthewakraft.com.
Danielle Scorrano: Thank you so much, Dr. Kraft. It has been an absolute pleasure. I'm so excited. We got to meet each other again and talk about all the issues, dig into the issues and education. And I look forward to learning more from you in the future.
Dr. Matthew Kraft: A real joy. Thanks for having me.