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NYTimes Editorial Board Calls for Education Reform

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by YankeeFan, Dec 2, 2013.

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  1. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    The union must also let go of the unspoken presumption that every teacher is entitled to a job for life.

    Pretty strong editorial, which will surely be rejected by teachers and their union. But, isn't this just common sense reform?

    Here's a taste:

  2. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Tangentially, this weekend we were sitting around the Thanksgiving table talking about education reform. I said teachers should be paid more.

    My mother-in-law, a teacher, as is my wife and my brother-in-law: "Yeah, but don't you think if you do that, you'll attract people who are only in it for the money, not for the kids?"

    After I resisted the urge to shoot myself in the head, I said: "Maybe we should pay doctors less, too. Or maybe teachers should just be an all-volunteer profession."

    Despite the union's sometimes unreasonable demands, on the ground a lot of teachers - and journalists - are so sold on their own nobility that they now view low pay as a selling point of the job.

    OK, now non-tangentially: This is one reason that all of the testing and evaluation and incentivizing doesn't work as well as you think it will. These people are largely not incentivized by higher pay. My wife refuses to answer the question directly, but I suspect that she would work for free - seriously, for free - if it meant that she never had to be observed or evaluated or labeled again.
  3. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Cross Giblets of Whitman.
  4. Morris816

    Morris816 Member

    Do we have teachers who hang onto their jobs simply because of tenure and seniority? Yes.

    Is that the only problem we have with education? No way.

    What do you do about administrators who have their own ideas about what teachers should or shouldn't be doing and try to mold those who do their jobs well into doing things differently just because? Let's not pretend this doesn't happen.

    What do you do about districts who decide to just cut the highest-paid teachers to save money without regards to how well they actually do their jobs? Let's not pretend this wouldn't happen.

    What about who gets to decide what qualifications teachers need to have? Do you trust the superintendents in each local district to do this? The local school boards? The state government? The federal government?

    What about those school districts in which school boards are still required to vote on every teacher contract, and then you get board members who have a grudge against a particular teacher and do whatever they can to get that teacher out? How do you keep that from being even easier?

    And on that final note: Everyone knows darn well that happens a lot — and in most cases, I think you will find it's a parent with a "not fair to my kid" attitude than it is a teacher who isn't doing his or her job well.

    Certainly the current system needs work, given that it favors long-time teachers too much and can lead to abuse. But what's the alternative and how are you going to ensure that teachers truly are properly evaluated and that you actually keep the best teachers while weeding out the ones who aren't good at what they do?
  5. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    What would happen?

    We'd see if the administrator was right or wrong. His changes would work, or they would not work. If they work, they should be embraced, and replicated.

    If they fail, the administrator should be fired.

    Would that be a bad thing?

    Oh no! Imagine if teachers were subject to the same market factors faced by every other white collar worker in America.

    Again, if a Principal can manage his/her budget, and be successful, more power to him/her. If firing better, higher payed teachers results in a lesser education for the kids, we should be able to measure this, and the Principal should lose his/her job as a result.
  6. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    Want better schools? Get better parents. That's the quickest and fastest way to make it happen.

    LOTS of schools see their scores go up, or down, based on which students get moved to which school when neighborhood boundaries are re-drawn.

    It's not the only fix. But better parents who demand more from their kids is where all this shit has to start.
  7. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    Well when education is LIKE every other white collar job, then maybe we can do that.

    At the college level, sure, it's a lot more possible. But you can't compare the local school system to corporate America for a lot of reasons, including the fact that local governments can't tell corporate America to begin offering its services for free to anyone and everyone the way local schools have to.

    Come on, man. You aren't that dumb, are you?
  8. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    That's where it has to start? I disagree. That's definitely not the fastest way to get better schools. It's the long-term way. The fastest way is to get better teachers.
  9. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    This is true to a large extent. It's also why the comparisons to Scandinavian schools fall flat. Until we replace out parents with Finns and Swedes, their model won't work here.

    So, we're left with what we can change.

    Better teachers. Longer hours. More school days. Accountability for students and teachers. These things can make a difference. Why don't we try them?
  10. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    We are trying them, aren't we? Incrementally?
  11. printit

    printit Member

    I'm not sure what is dumb about holding teachers accountable for performance, same as any white collar worker is held accountable for his/her performance. Actuaries can, and do, assess where students ought to be given past performance, IQ, home life, etc. See if the teacher is meeting that expectation. It's actually not that hard, and there is nothing "dumb" about it.
    (teachers themselves tacitly acknowledge this when they cite to articles that identify who the good teachers are. If you can figure out who the good teachers are, you can figure out who the bad teachers are).
  12. printit

    printit Member

    I'm with you on about 99% of your education posts (see above post for example). I don't like the idea of more school days, at least not for everyone. There comes some point where I think my kids will learn more at home for at least a couple of months of the year.
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