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View Diary: A Review of the Chetty Study - the Value of Teachers? (61 comments)

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  •  So then why not cut teacher salaries even further (0+ / 0-)

    so that only the really committed ones will stay?

    If the only thing that's keeping the "best people" from teaching is the low pay, then are they really the "best people" for the job?  Perhaps the "best people" are already teaching, because the "best people" are the ones who endure being overworked and underpaid due to a fervent belief in what they're doing - not the mercenaries who can only be persuaded to give of their skills in exchange for more cash.
    Why would this be the case for teachers but not for doctors, bankers, professional sports players, lawyers, etc?

    Maybe the best teachers are the ones who are smart, communicate well, understand many subjects, etc. - people who can get good high paying jobs in many fields and most of who will not choose to teach unless they are well paid for doing so?

    Trying to apply capitalist incentives won't work in education, because most teachers (in my experience) don't think that way - we're motivated by something other than avarice.  I'm not trying to be sanctimonious here - just saying that if it was about the money...well, it didn't exactly come as a surprise to most of us that we weren't going to be paid well, that that was part of the trade-off for having a decent pension system and an easy-to-understand salary schedule.
    Obviously, if we substantially increase teacher salaries we will attract more people who are motivated by money.  Different people, in other words.  So your point will no longer apply.
    We'd probably cherry-pick students so that we wouldn't get stuck with the struggling kids who're gonna drag down the test scores.  
    If that's your plan you would probably be out quickly in this new system.

    Consider - if you have a kid in your class who is already in the 99th percentile you have nowhere to go but down - you can't have any value add.

    But if you have a kid who is in the 10th percentile you can substantially increase your average value add just by bringing him up to the 20th percentile.

    If your math skills are so bad you can't figure that out you probably should not be teaching.  

    Gone would be the days of sharing lesson plans with the officemates - if we find something that works, it only makes economic sense to keep it to ourselves.  And why would any of us help the struggling newbie teacher a couple of doors down - the further that kid tanks, the better we look!  Sure, he'll be gone in a couple of years, but then we can just hire another sacrificial lamb with no due process rights, dump all the difficult kids in the replacement's classes, and count the sweet reward.
    Strangely enough, in other competitive positions (ie. commission based sales where sales targets are set by looking at average performance and then you have to beat the average to get a bonus) this does not seem to happen.  The reason is that it's not single level.  Principals and department heads also need to show value add.  So they need to incent teachers who help other teachers at their school or in their department increase their value add.

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