Why don't researchers answer the questions teachers ask?
Studying the effects of smaller class sizes or merit pay or vouchers is fine. But if education researchers really want to make a difference, they should look at the smaller things that teachers wrestle with, suggests a teacher in this piece in Education Next. Here's an excerpt:
" ... there is almost nothing examining the thousands of moves teachers must decide on and execute every school day. Should I ask for raised hands, or cold-call? Should I give a warning or a detention? Do I require this student to attend my afterschool help session, or make it optional? Should I spend 10 minutes grading each five-paragraph essay, 20 minutes, or just not pay attention to time and work on each until it “feels” done? ... What does not exist are experiments with results like this: “A randomized trial found that a home visit prior to the beginning of a school year, combined with phone calls to parents within 5 hours of an infraction, results in a 15 percent drop in the same misbehavior on the next day.” If that existed, perhaps teachers would be more amenable to proposals like home visits."