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Director M. Night Shyamalan explores education reform

Jansing & Co. , 10/8/13, 11:50 AM ET

Shyamalan: Smaller classes not key to achievement

Director M. Night Shyamalan discusses his research into how to close the achievement gap in public education.
Film writer and director M. Night Shyamalan spent the last five years digging into the problems that have plagued American public schools, and joined MSNBC’s Jansing & Co. Tuesday alongside the Education Nation summit to talk about education reform.

“Our foundation started getting involved in wanting to know what worked in the research for closing the achievement gap between inner-city low-income kids – and Philadelphia in particular; that’s what we were looking at – and their white suburban counterparts.,” Shyamalan said. “And it just became an obsessive five-year thing of looking at all the research and I put it all in a book.”

Shyamalan argues that smaller class sizes aren’t always a winning formula, and that students benefit more substantially from being taught by a great teacher, even if it’s in a bigger class.

“That is a no-brainer, no-brainer,” he said. “The impact that a great teacher has so far outweighs what you’re going to get from smaller – a dramatic[ly] smaller classroom size…It’s one of those things that makes a really good private school a little bit better.”

Shyamalan also recommended “tak[ing] out the very lowest group of teachers, the ones that I call the roadblock teachers, that are doing so much damage that three good teachers can’t make up for it” as well as extending the school day. He published his findings in the book I Got Schooled. 

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Director M. Night Shyamalan explores education reform