A new report by McKinsey examines the common characteristics of school systems producing students who perform well on international tests. How the World’s Best Performing School Systems Come Out on Top (9.46 MB pdf). Their conclusions are not rocket science but do help clarify myths and reality. Getting good teachers depends more on how you select them than on how much they are paid; it becomes a career choice for top graduates. Ongoing teacher training helps. early intervention when things go wrong helps. And with the right policies neither schools nor students need lag behind.
The report is worth reading offerng good examples, data and sense.