12/15/08

Which Way, Arne?

Arne Duncan, Chicago schools chief and Obama hoops pal, will be education secretary. A "compromise choice," I'm told, in the first battle for Obama's education soul. The National Education Association welcomes the appointment. The NEA also loathes Michelle Rhee's landmark initiative to dramatically hike teacher pay in exchange for tenure and other reforms, to me a kind of litmus test for whether you're serious about fixing schools. Does the NEA think it knows something that we don't?

2 Comments:

Blogger Elphage said...

Your litmus test is totally wrong headed. I have listened to you go on and on about this for years. It assumes that poor teachers are the largest cause of bad schools. What makes you think bad teachers are a major cause of the problems of inner city education. Do you think that if you took all the teachers at Beverly Hill High and moved them to Locke they would be any more successful? They would probably be less successful. It is like saying bad cops are the largest cause of high crime cities. It just ain't so. First of all, the tenure public school teachers have is not like that of professors. It is really just a guarantee of due process. If teachers are bad they can easily be fired. Most administrators are just too dumb or lazy to do it. Second, higher pay in one district DC will just prove that teachers are under paid and there is now way the country will raise pay to the levels Michelle Rhee is talking about. In fact, even she won't be able to do it. You watch. The economy is going south and her funding will also. Look, working conditions are just as, or more important than pay. That is why all those Teach for America teachers quit in tears and go to law school. How much would it take to get you to teach in an inner city school? I bet you would not take the job under any circumstances. I would be willing to bet you view it as beneath you. That is the real problem. Most of the country looks down upon teachers who work in inner city schools. I know I have worked in L.A. and New Orleans and the surest way to get the cold shoulder at a cocktail party is to say you are a teacher in a poor district.

December 15, 2008 at 11:09 PM  
Blogger chris667 said...

Until teacher pay is dramatically increased so that instead of drawing our teachers from the bottom 25% of their graduating classes we begin to draw them from the top 25% we have no hope of improving our educational system.

Michelle Rehee's proposal may not be popular with the unions but it will go a long way toward giving our children the education they are going to need to compete in the global economy they are entering.


It will also help to reverse the state or dry rot that our public schools are in today and prevent us from becoming a 2nd rate economy.

December 28, 2008 at 11:51 AM  

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