Good education links

Both from the Wall Street Journal:

1. Finally, it seems they are figuring out that educational attainment is not necessarily a good performance measure: Pay Raises for Teachers With Mater’s Under Fire.

I have a couple of thoughts on this article:

Someone in the article wonders how educators can consistently tell students that education is important, while removing raises for more education for teachers. I think that answer is simple. Education is important to a certain extent. But, experience is more important.

While educators crank away at trying to find good, statistical measures to quantify teacher performance, I think they could do some good if they learned about The Net Promoter Score. Simply ask parents and students if they would recommend a teacher to others and why or why not.

2. (HT: Mark Perry @ Carpe Diem) Why Tough Teachers Get Good Results. Perry also links to a Letter to the Editor that points out that we remember those tough teachers that fairly held us to a high standard, but we don’t so much those wishy-washy, want-to-be-your-bestie teachers.

5 thoughts on “Good education links

  1. Hi Seth –

    I think all teaches have maters (in the Latin sense)!

    In regards to the imagined irony of the comparison of telling students that education matters while disregarding more education when it comes to teacher’s pay, a better analogy is this:
    We shouldn’t reward students simply because they attend class, but rather on their performance. Just as better performance merits a better letter grade, better performance as a teacher merits better pay. Every student that earns a degree from Anytown H.S. doesn’t get rewarded with entry into or a scholarship to a prestigious college. only students whose performance merits such rewards (affirmative action excluded). Similarly, simply “earning” a masters degree is not the equivalent of performing better as a teacher – especially when a big reason for many masters programs today is a means of generating additional revenue for the universities.

    In regards to teacher performance and paying for such, I could support two concepts:

    First, control of schools should start and stop at the local level. No more federal meddling. At the local level, school administrators know who the slacker teachers are, they just can’t do much about it. A legal standard that shifts the burden of proof for a wrongful termination or discrimination case to the teacher would help as would breaking up the federal education cartel and the stronghold of the teacher’s unions.

    Second, either eliminate the subsidies for education or allow a system of vouchers. What we have now is a situation where the supplier gets paid no matter how lousy the product. Is there any wonder why public schools do such a crappy job? Many people question the value of a college education and from the performance of our K-12 graders on international tests, one is hard pressed to justify the amounts we spend compared to other countries. Rather than force them to pay for something they may not want, let people decide whether or not public education or private education or home school is the best option. It’s ironic that most of the pro choice crowd is anti choice when it comes to choosing your kid’s school!

    While I recognize that it’s a generalization, tough teachers are tough because they care about their students. They have not only the desire to teach, but they follow through with their actions. Easy teachers lack either the desire or the wherewithal. Too often we hear that we need more teachers and smaller class sizes. What we really need is more good teachers and fewer total teachers. We would be much better off the great teachers – which we can afford by jettisoning bad teachers, expensive facilities and the latest fads (google LA + schools + iPad), and layers of administrators and parasites (therapists, school health providers, counselors, etc.) required by the federal government. Would you rather have your kid in a classroom of 50 kids with the best teacher in the state or in a classroom of 10 kids with an utter moron?

  2. Lest you think that I exaggerate about the low value of a university (re-) education:

    IMHO, the problem at MOST universities today is not only that they don’t impart some positive educational benefit, but that they are harmful. If we sent our kids there and they learned nothing, they might be better off than being subjected to the leftist brainwashing they now receive (as noted in the article linked above).

  3. On a previous thread, I noted that bullies serve a useful purpose – they prepare young people for what they’ll face in the adult world. Young people need to be exposed to hardships and disappointments so that they can develop not only the skills to deal with these inevitable problems, but the mental fortitude to persist in achieving their goals. When we eliminate hardships from young people’s lives, we get adults unable to cope with adult problems:

    I willingly accept the presence of bullies if it reduces the incidence of pusillanimous wretches roaming our streets.


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