Thursday, January 13, 2011

Do We Hate Teachers or Love Them ?

I suppose the correct answer is that 'we' love good teachers and want 'accountability' for bad teachers.

The whole mainstream public debate is rather quixotic; on one hand teachers are overpaid and have too generous pensions (even if they don't pay into or receive Social Security) which are bankrupting the nation, and on the other, we need to improve our education system because we have mediocre teachers

How to get better teachers then, if that is the socially agreed upon supposition ? (Not mine.) By offering lower wages ? While it's true money isn't everything or a sole motivator (it's not all about Benjamins) one needs to have fixed teeth and a car than is newer than ten years old. And absent social respect and given constant social attack, money becomes even more important.

And it's true that a significant strategy of the ruling class is to offshore education costs to the developing world and then steal the best and brightest from, for instance, India and China. But this doesn't seem like a good long term solution, people generally want to stay close to home and many developing countries have rapidly improving living standards.

And recent OECD testing reveals that pay is a top factor in getting quality teachers, and that public schools do as well as private when factoring out other variables.

Even on the accepted construct of supply and demand, one can go to the national job search websites and find many hundreds of mid year openings for math and science teachers. Overpaid doesn't seem to quite fit.

It adds up to some deep ideological flaws in the US ruling class; an ideological bent that may have worked on its own inscrutable terms when there was a middle class to be strip mined - like in 1975, but not now.

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