Chick-fil-A Leadercast 2012: Roland Fryer

Posted: May 6, 2012 in Chick-fil-A Leadercast
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Roland Fryer

Professor of economics at Harvard & CEO of the Education Innovation Laboratory


Addressing Education Reform

  • As a Econimist, should I get involved in education? I could make more money at Wall Street
  • US spends the 4th most in world on education ($13k per kid)  but our performance is ranked 20th 
  • In ATL 10% at grade level in reading, in DET 3% can do math at grade level
  • There is lots of noise about improving education
  • We have done all the things politicians have told us to do but with no real improvement at all.
  • One success story got my attention, it was the Harlem Children Zone-these schools closed racial achievement gap in three years
  • This shows something worked
  • We went to 100 charter schools in NY and studied what made some schools great and why some are terrible and need to be shut down. What is the difference?
  • What are keys to the successful schools?
  • Went there to see and study what were key elements of success
Keys Elements to Success at Improving  School Performance
1. Time: more time at school
2. Who: Teachers, most precious resource, must have good teachers, develop them, but if they don’t improve they have to go
3. Data: use data to alter pace of instruction, good schools test you quickly through out the year. Figure out how to tutor kids in small groups. Don’t wait until end of year and test the kids and then say we failed but it is time for summer break. Keep track of progress throughout the year so you can help kids fix what is not working for them. The key is knowing in real time where our kids are!
4. High Expectations and Culture of no excuses
The most successful of these schools create cultures of high expectations and a culture of no excuses!
Kids will live down or to up to whatever expectations we have of them!
We needed test site to try these out with fidelity but we couldn’t find place where anyone wanted us until we got to Houston, TX.
  • Implemented in 20 worst high schools, all principles removed, 60% of teachers removed
  • We started elevating the conversation, started holding people accountable, if you say it works show me the data.
After numerous other cities turned refused to participate Houston stepped up to test the methods.The results were that 100% of the kids in 20 High Schools in Houston, TX implementing this model made it to a 2 or 4 year college.

Culture of low expectations: kids in poverty, how do you change this? Show them what is possible, show them tough love, hold kids accountable, kids will rise to the level of our expectations.
Our country has to get this right. We have to figure out how to educate our most vulnerable citizens!

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