I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Crazy Talk

E.D. Kain is talking crazy talk!
Okay, for the sake of argument let’s accept each of Matt’s premises here. Let’s say that Last In, First Out and seniority and compensation schemes based on experience and education don’t make sense (even though much of this is unofficial practice in many other industries). Even accepting these premises I fail to see how implementing a complicated, controversial, financially burdensome and ultimately counterproductive testing regime is the correct answer to getting rid of the bad teachers while attracting good people to the profession.
Here is my alternative plan: make teaching fun and rewarding. Treat teachers as autonomous professionals and make teaching more exclusive. Give teachers in urban and rural areas where turnover is high and schools are under-funded more support. Senior teachers can act as mentors at these schools. Expand the role of veteran teachers beyond classroom instruction. Let them use their experience and knowledge to help new teachers and try to curb the 50% turn-over rates.
Because Matt is right that teachers make a huge difference. He’s just wrong to suggest that we should make teaching a lousy profession that no-one with any common sense would want to make a career out of. Why would talented people want to subject themselves to a teaching job under the sort of conditions that Matt favors? “Accountability” and “value-added” schemes are not only bad at actually gauging teacher quality, they have the really awful side-effect of making teachers all teach to tests.
Were I an enterprising reporter, I'd be checking in with college campuses to see who is signing up to declare a major in education. Who still wants to be a teacher in this climate?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

After declaring a major in elementary education- I can honestly say that I am very much rethinking the idea.