Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Randi and the NFL

A spot-on editorial in the NY Daily News, using Randi's comparison of teachers and NFL players:

Just ask Randi Weingarten -- schools, teachers and their unions could all learn from the NFL

Tuesday, January 4th 2011, 4:00 AM

It was Randi Weingarten, former head of the city's teachers union and current head of the American Federation of Teachers, who said it.

In an interview with Newsweek - a joint sitdown with billionaire and school reformer Bill Gates - Weingarten followed Gates' statement that "We need to measure what [teachers] do, and then have incentives for the other teachers to learn those things" with this observation:

"Football teams do this all the time. They look at the tape after every game. Sometimes they do it during the game. They're constantly deconstructing what is working and what isn't working. And they're jettisoning what isn't working and building up on what is working, and doing it in a teamlike approach. We never do that investment in public schooling."

Absolutely right - and New York schools could well emulate the NFL by recording model lessons by exemplary teachers and making them available for study by other classroom educators.

But you know what else they do in the NFL besides review the tape and adjust strategies?

They pay the best and most promising players more, whether they're rookies or legends.

They waive players and coaches who can't cut it. (Bye-bye, Mangenius; your Browns stank.)

There's no such thing as tenure, no offensive linemen sitting in an empty locker room collecting paychecks if they can't earn a slot on a roster.

The NFL gives the worst teams first pick of the best young talent. (Congrats, Carolina Panthers, that's the consolation prize to your 2-14 misery.)

And every week, they dissect statistics - to hone in on who's doing the best job and why. Tom Brady's quarterback rating in 2010: 111.

They do all this even though they've got a powerful union that demands, and gets, good salaries and benefits for its workforce.

Each player has a unique contract based on his ability and achievement.

In other words, they focus on performance.

Michael Mulgrew, are you a football fan too?

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