Wednesday, April 29, 2009


The Manhattan Institute's Marcus Winters with an Op Ed in the NY Post on some obvious teacher comp reforms:

SCHOOL reform is back on the agenda. Here in New York, Albany is debating whether to keep control of Gotham's schools in the mayor's hands. On the federal level, Education Secretary Arne Duncan has pledged that he'll use his new pot of stimulus dollars to encourage reform. We need to think about the types of reforms likely to make a difference in students' lives. Improving teacher quality is at the top of that list.

Because empirical research confirms that teacher quality varies dramatically, our best means of reforming public schooling is adopting policies that lead to improvements in teaching. Any lasting solution to the teacher-quality problem must include revamping the absurd rules on paying and employing public-school teachers. There are some clear avenues for reforming these rules that if enacted would pay big dividends for students. New York has made some important strides, such as experimenting with a bonus program, but the teachers union and others have squashed efforts such as using test scores to help determine whether tenure should be granted.

Teachers' salaries are now based entirely on two factors unrelated to teaching effectiveness: years of experience and the number of advanced degrees held. Just about any teacher who sticks around for three years is granted tenure and its protections. (Last year only 0.02 percent of tenured public-school teachers in New York City were fired.) Teachers are paid equally whether they teach advanced calculus or gym, and whether they teach in schools populated by advantaged or disadvantaged students. The result is a system that doesn't reward excellence, protects failure and simply can't attract the talent necessary to prepare students for the global economy.

Some commonsense compensation reforms would dramatically improve the way teachers are recruited, trained, motivated and assigned to public schools:



April 23, 2009

'Teachers are paid equally whether they teach calculus or gym.'

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