In lieu of a longer post, I'd just note that the retention issues Dan isolates here are in my observation the force that bends teachers in a more progressive direction over a long career (noting that inertia is generally very, very strong in teaching practice). You get down the process of navigating most of your kids through the courses you're assigned to teach, everything seems fine, then at some point you realize it doesn't really stick, and small tweaks don't help. This is when you start understanding how important "less is more" is, question the balance between covering content and things like "habits of mind," see how interdisciplinary work can reinforce and recontextualize important concepts, etc., etc.
OTOH, if we start paying teachers bonuses or firing them based on test scores at the end of the year, we're pretty much establishing as policy that retention doesn't matter.
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