When we published "Missed Opportunities" in 2003, teacher shortages in urban districts were assumed to be caused by a dearth of qualified applicants. But we quickly discovered that that was not true—and there were things districts could do to hire top candidates.
Education policy debates are often polarized and oversimplified. Take class size: while unmanageable sizes need to be dealt with, lowering sizes across the board can do as much harm as good. Personal points of view can add even more nuance, leading us to politely knock heads.
Changing policy is hard. Even when you finally get the policy changes you want, implementing them so they produce their intended effects is even harder. That’s the challenge in Memphis now, after a decade of hard work and a new, groundbreaking set of human capital policies.