Bad Teacher

I can’t believe the incredible luck we’ve been having here in discussing a topic and then hearing that topic discussed elsewhere.

I post about Nations Going Into Retirement, then almost immediately hear Jagdish Bhagwati saying something similar on EconTalk about India.

I post about the American Dream, ideals vs. materialism, and then hear a pertinent quote about that on a Harvard Business Review Ideacast.

I posted about how Teachers Matter. This week’s EconTalk has guest, Eric Hanushek, discussing education. In his research, he has convinced himself that teachers matter more than most things in education.

Further, commentator, Wally, brought up the topic of Finland’s successful education in the comments of my Teachers Matter post. Hanushek discusses that very topic in the podcast. I was skeptical that the story Wally linked to provided all the answers. Hanushek is skeptical that Finland’s success can be explained with any small number of factors. But, he does think teachers matter there, too. He said that he’s not sure why, but teaching is a revered profession in Finland so it naturally attracts good teachers. He also believes local choice — among administrators and parents — contributes, but still thinks teachers matter most there.

Hanushek says that a key reason U.S. education lags other countries, as measured by test results, is that we don’t have a good mechanism for eliminating the bad teachers, whereas education systems in other countries are more open to that. He’s not even talking about making every teacher great. Just getting rid of the bad ones will help. Even when it’s obvious, when most parents at the school and most teachers can point to the two or three bad teachers, nothing can be done.

3 thoughts on “Bad Teacher

  1. “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

    Who’s to blame for the death of common sense? Have we allowed common sense to be replaced with misguided laws and regulations because of the nefarious back room dealings of lawyers or have we allowed and encouraged lawyers (broadly defined not just as those who practice law, but as those who create and interpret our laws, i.e. Congress and SCOTUS) to kill common sense because real education has been replaced by liberal propaganda and “feel good” studies.

    I think part of the problem is that we have allowed common sense, which relies on broad principles, knowledge and experience, is often difficult to codify and its legal application if hence retrospective and poorly defined – that’s why our legal system presumes innocence and has standards of guilt (preponderance of the evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt, etc.) that are appropriate for the severity of the possible punishment. So, we have replaced common sense with rules and regulations that can be defined and codified, but that are subject to gamesmanship, especially as the details of the world change.

    For your enjoyment…….

    Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

    He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
    Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
    Why the early bird gets the worm;
    Life isn’t always fair,
    and maybe it was my fault.

    Common sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults are in charge not children).

    His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of an 8 year old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate, teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch, and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

    Common sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student, but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

    Common sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses, and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

    Common sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

    Common sense finally gave up the will to live, after a women failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

    Common sense was preceded in death, by
    His parents, truth and trust
    His wife, discretion
    His daughter, Responsibility
    His son, reason.

    He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers
    I know my rights
    I want my rights
    I want it now
    I’m a victim.

    Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

    (I don’t know the source as this was sent to me in an email)


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