Skip to main content

Although this will come as a shock, offering incentives to teachers for increased student achievement - a concept referred to as "merit pay" - doesn't seem to produce the results the "reformers" said it would. In fact, according to a recently released study by the Harvard economist Roland Fryer, merit pay actually often hurt student performance rather than increasing it.

I know. You're surprised. Try to hold back your astonishment enough to make the jump and I'll explain.

We must fire the bad teachers so we can pay the good teacher more! At least that's the story "reformers" like Bill Gates seem to be sticking to. But the problem, as demonstrated by Fryer's study of 200 high-need schools in New York, with 20,000 teachers, over three years, demonstrated that offering cash bonuses to teachers just plain didn't work:

The program, which was first funded by private foundations and then by taxpayer dollars, also had no impact on teacher behaviors that researchers measured. These included whether teachers stayed at their schools or in the city school district and how teachers described their job satisfaction and school quality in a survey.

The program had only a “negligible” effect on a list of other measures that includes student attendance, behavioral problems, Regents exam scores, and high school graduation rates, the study found.

So merit pay did not stop the exodus of teachers from high-need schools. It did not retain teachers in the district. It did not make teacher feel any better about their position. It did not help keep kids in school. It did not reduce behavior issues. It did not help test scores. It did not increase graduation rates either.

So what did it do? It did cost $75 million dollars. What to you get for $75M in education reform:

Researchers were also surprised to find that middle school students actually seemed to be worse off. After three years attending schools involved in the project, middle school students’ math and English test scores declined by a statistically significant amount compared to students attending similar schools that were not part of the project.

But researchers were surprised by a few results:

In his study, published as a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, Fryer writes that researchers were surprised to see that schools that won bonuses overwhelmingly decided to distribute the cash fairly evenly among teachers. More than 80 percent of schools that won bonuses gave the same dollar amount to almost all of the eligible educators.

If you're not a teacher, this might be surprising to you. If you are, you know teachers value collaboration and the idea that a rising tide lifts all boats. Competition occurring between teachers is the antithesis of a high performing school. Teachers, when given a challenge often rise above it by working together. Dividing bonuses unevenly between teachers in a building creates competition. It reinforces the misplaced notion that a student's achievement can be compartmentalized into the actions of one teacher or one classroom. It reinforces that behaviorist view that punishing bad behavior and rewarding good behavior works.

One of the reasons for merit pay lacking merit is because of the misplaced belief that money motivates all behaviors. Maybe this works for corporate America, the Chamber of Commerce and the Republican party, but it doesn't work in professions like teaching. This terrific must see video from RSA Animates adaptation of Dan Pink's talk on drive is a great explanation.

In short, the research on this is well known and pretty clear: If a person is asked to do a menial task or mechanical skill - simple rote memorization or repetitive tasks - bonuses work. Once the task calls for even rudimentary cognitive skill, rewards lead to poorer performance. At over 1,500 decisions in a day, I think it's safe to say that teaching is safely within the rudimentary cognitive skill range.

So what would motivate teachers? Autonomy - the ability to direct their own profession. Part of such self-direction would be for teachers to be valued as the professional educators they are and be sought for their expert opinion on what would actually increase student achievement in their classrooms. Real autonomy increases engagement. Real autonomy leads to innovation. Real autonomy fits with those people who go into a profession with the notion of what Pink calls "transcendent purpose". I think this term explains why the vast majority of teachers are teachers.

But autonomy and transcendent purpose doesn't fit the "reform" narrative of "bad teachers" who need to be held accountable.

Merit pay does.

Originally posted to michael in chicago on Wed Mar 09, 2011 at 04:47 PM PST.

Also republished by Teachers Lounge, Educator Voices, and Community Spotlight.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  So we can pay teachers less and we'll still (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jlms qkw

    have good teachers?

    One of the reasons for merit pay lacking merit is because of the misplaced belief that money motivates all behaviors. Maybe this works for corporate America, the Chamber of Commerce and the Republican party, but it doesn't work in professions like teaching.
    •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk, sandblaster
      In his study, published as a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, Fryer writes that researchers were surprised to see that schools that won bonuses overwhelmingly decided to distribute the cash fairly evenly among teachers. More than 80 percent of schools that won bonuses gave the same dollar amount to almost all of the eligible educators.

      So, no teachers were rewarded for individual performance.  That really limits the lessons we can draw from this.  
      •  No Johnny, you've got it wrong. (20+ / 0-)

        All of the teachers were rewarded for their performance. As a veteran teacher, I can tell you that schools with staffs behaving in a collaborative fashion have better esprit de corps, achieve more, and provide one another with invaluable teaching tips, support, and guidance. We recognize that it does take a village - an entire school village - to educate a child. Bravo to those schools celebrating collaboration!

      •  I don't see it that way (24+ / 0-)

        I think it shows, as the diarist pointed out, that teachers understand that results one year are not all the doing of that one single teacher, but an accumulation of the influence of many teachers. And I disagree with your conclusion that it shows we can pay teachers as a group less. Merit pay is different: it says, "You're good, you're bad." A decent salary for all teachers is part of RESPECT, which I think is the biggest issue in the teaching profession today — and feeds into what the diarist said about autonomy, or, as I'd call it, input. When you have panel after conference after task force that includes people who don't know diddly about how education actually works and often no experienced teachers telling teachers how to do their jobs, that's lack of input and disrespect. Seriously, can you imagine convening a panel on how to make operating rooms healthier and safer that included no surgeons, just bean counters? That's what's being done to teachers.

        Jennifer Brunner for Governor of Ohio 2014

        by anastasia p on Wed Mar 09, 2011 at 07:35:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My wife's school got a bonus (11+ / 0-)

          Not sure if it was part of this specific NYC DOE program. They  voted to spread the bonus among all of the staff including the secretaries,  custodians, counselors, etc. It was because they recognize that everyone at the schools contributes to making it a better-functioning unit.

          "I'm a hopeless're just hopeless." -Bouncing Souls

          by AndrewOG on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 03:59:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Not unlike waiting tables (3+ / 0-)

          I don't intend to draw an unfavorable comparison between teaching and waiting tables, but in a restaurant, when a server does their job well, it's because of all of the other people in the restaurant.  

          "Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand."

          by otto on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 06:23:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Anastasia has it right (8+ / 0-)
          can you imagine convening a panel on how to make operating rooms healthier and safer that included no surgeons, just bean counters? That's what's being done to teachers.

          It's being done in politics...but equally as the shopping mall, at ballgames, at dinner tables all across America.  Somehow people think that because they went to school they know what needs to happen in education.  When in reality, if "when I was a kid" was happening in schools all the time, we would get further and further behind, globally.  Why?  Because the WORLD has changed!!  We need to learn differently, think differently, and therefore, teach differently.

          Can you imagine telling an engineer or a doctor or a lawyer how to do his/her job?

          Probably not.  Why?  Because you recognize that the engineer, doctor, lawyer, etc. is more of an expert in their area than you are.  They went to school to become it, they do it everyday, they experience it. Why isn't the same respect given to teachers in our country?  It is in other cultures, btw.

          And all of about R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  Right on, Anastasia!

          •  I should add... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            phrogge prince

            I am all for education reform.  There are things we need to do differently.  Like I said, the world has changed and continues to do so on a daily basis.  But the people making the decisions about that shouldn't be the engineers, doctors, lawyers, or politicians.

            •  Or business people (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              zoots dream gearle, teemel

              It definitely shouldn't be people who impose the profit mentality on schools.

              Jennifer Brunner for Governor of Ohio 2014

              by anastasia p on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 07:24:38 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Things can always be done differently (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              David Kaib

              The point I'll make repeatedly is that it doesn't matter what field you look at things can always be improved.

              But you don't hear cries to fire doctors because there is an obesity crisis. Why not? Because the factors that contribute to obesity are often out of their control. The same can be said for teaching.

              This is the problem with "education reform". It's a pretty term used to dress up a pig through misplaced causation. If we want to improve our education system, then we have to look at the system - including the impacts of poverty on achievement.

              Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

              by michael in chicago on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 02:49:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  The Peasant and his Donkey: a Tale (7+ / 0-)

        Once upon a time (of course) there was a peasant who owned horse and a donkey.  While the horse pulled the plow neccessary to growing the crops, the donkey pulled a cart in multitude of rural donkey-work tasks ... like hauling the water wagon and carrying eggs to market.

        In good times there was enough feed for both the horse and the donkey -- with more to spare.

        But when times were hard, feeding both the horse and the donkey became a burden.  So the farmer reasoned, if the donkey worked less, I could feed it less and enable the horse to become more productive.  Therefore each day he reduced the donkey's feed ration, so it would gradually become accustomed to the austerity regime.

        After a while one of the peasant's neighbors asked "How's that donkey-starving thing of yours working out ?"

        "It was working very well at first," said the peasant.  But just when I got the it trained not to eat at all, the damned beast went and died on me."

        And as a result, the peasant's wife and children had to haul water on their backs,  walk the eggs to market and get along without the many comforts and conveniences provided by a donkey.

        Cutting teacher pay will work for a while.  Especially if school boards fall for the Teach For America notion that ANY bright enthusiastic political/business apparatchik-in-training can take on classroom teaching after a summer's training, intending to leave the field after a few years ...  and do better than the professional specialists with experience and commitment.

        Human nature being what it is ... whatever the TFA scabs are paid, to the Union teachers, that figure will represent "intern's wages" ... and start considering "finishing the PhD" and looking for opportunity in some other public service field --  Law and philanthropic management come immediately to mind.

        More importantly: the current generation of Education Majors who have a career options.

        Now maybe the Low Bidders, Scabs and Short Term Volunteers will BE the "superior teachers" that President Obama keeps yammering about.  Maybe they will.  It could happen.  We USED to educate our elementary school children with "Old Maids"  (read Jane Austin)  and "Failed Clergy Men"  (read HG Wells.)

        At any rate, replacing unionized professional teachers with "employees at will." should save the beleaguered taxpayers just ooodles of money  (well, it depends on your definition of "oodles.")  And, these fresh new faces, being from management and poly-sci backgrounds will be better able to game the evaluation system, whatever it is, than people who wasted their time in College taking   "Theory and Practice" or "Methods and Materials" classes   (not to mention all that behavioral and developmental psychology, that the so-called experts think necessary to effective teaching.)

        But if it DOESN'T work out has hoped ...  "oh well" the people advocating most strongly for  de-professionalizing the teaching profession   (and breaking up a stronghold of Liberal/Progress thinking and Democrat contributing/voting, too) -- they will have their "magnet Charters",  Private and Prep schools ... just as they did in the Guilded Age.

        How those students will compete  "math, science, engineering and innovation" compared to the more-or-less open  "best of Billions" meritocracy from with Chinese and Indian elites draw their Human Resources ... well, that's anyone's guess.

    •  If we give teachers great working conditions. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Geenius at Wrok, brein

      Yes, if we give teachers really great working conditions, we can pay them less and still have good teachers.

      I don't see that happening anywhere.  Republicans and Arne Duncan are intent on making working conditions worse for teachers.  As if local school boards weren't bad enough!

      Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

      by neroden on Wed Mar 09, 2011 at 11:40:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Our local school board is doing its best (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jeff bryant, croyal

        Last week it voted unanimously to oppose union-busting SB 5 in Ohio.

        Jennifer Brunner for Governor of Ohio 2014

        by anastasia p on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 05:12:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Bad working environments (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sandblaster, teemel, MaikeH, bigrivergal

        hurt teacher and student performance. I never see this address in any discussion about merit pay. People (/cough Obama) seem to think you can just throw money at teachers and they'll suddenly care about teaching, as if they didn't before. But no amount of merit pay will help a teacher over come the negativity of a bad working environment, be it bad admin, dysfunctional and ineffective discipline standards for students, hostile parents, counterproductive standardized testing, poor supplies, out-of-date classroom technology and school building that are falling down around them.

        I've been in education going on 20 years now. I've never heard a teacher gripe about being a teacher. I never heard a teacher say "God, I hate teaching." And yeah, I've heard a lot of jokes about the kind of pay they get. But my experience has been that the overwhelming majority of teachers don't need incentives to care about teaching. Teachers usually have a native drive to be good at their job, despite being critically underpaid. It actually is pretty damn amazing. On the other hand, I have heard teachers complain about those other things I listed above, repeatedly, and it's clear to me that these are the things that teachers feel impede their performance as teachers, as well as impede their students' performance. And I have to wonder--why is no one listening?

        As human beings, we're social creature who react with great sensitivity to our physical and social environment. Students act better in a good environment. They learn better too. Teachers teach better, not because they magically care more, but because they are better supported in doing their job. It seems like a no-brainer to me. Merit pay can only work if you have an environment that supports and encourages excellence. Otherwise, it just discourages people, when they do as best as they can, but then get punished for negative elements in their working environment they cannot control.

        Invest in better working environments for teachers, instead of punishing teachers for doing as best they can with what they're given.

        •  You bring up a good point, croyal (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Crumbling school buildings send kids a message that no one cares so why should they.

          Jennifer Brunner for Governor of Ohio 2014

          by anastasia p on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 07:26:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  When I taught, I most certainly (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          didn't teach for the money - although a regular paycheck was nice after a couple of years of two part-time jobs combined with full-time grad school AND full-time single parenting - and when I quit that also wasn't because of the money.  It was 95% adversarial relationship with the administration and 5% bad attitude from the parents.  As to the kids themselves, even considering the less than 1% little trouble-making jerks, they were great and if it were only the kids, I'd still be teaching.

          •  Studies (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bfitzinAR, David Kaib

            I can't find a link, but I've seen studies that show the most often given reason for leaving teaching or a particular teaching position was lack of support and/or abusive administration.

            Let's be honest about money: the vast majority of people go into a profession to earn a living. However, if certain occupations have terrible wages, benefits and long term prospects, the pool of available workers will dry up - doubly so for the talented end of the candidate pool. People go into teacher because they want to earn a living doing something meaningful. As Dan Pink calls it "transcendent purpose". Teachers fall in the overwhelming majority fall into this category.

            But make no mistake, earning a living is still an important factor.

            Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

            by michael in chicago on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 02:57:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well of course it is - you can't (0+ / 0-)

              teach anybody anything if you are sleeping under a bridge and eating out of dumpsters - for one thing, they probably wouldn't let you into the school building.  But pay scale isn't the driving factor.  If it was, they wouldn't go into teaching.  The "topping out" salary is something like 3x the "walk in the door" salary - and that includes 20 years of service, plus continuing education and attaining advanced degrees at the teacher's own expense.

              The drive to get a living wage for teachers is so they can do that meaningful job without having to be supported by somebody else.  It's the only profession that is so treated.  Lawyers, doctors, engineers - none of them are expected to take subsistance-level (or below) salaries...

    •  Yes and no (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Any good teacher is going to teach to their optimum, even if their pay is cut. See what has happened to teacherken.

      But what will happen if we pay teachers less is that good teachers will teach until they find other occupations. Young teachers will bolt for the door. College students will reconsider whether teaching is a viable career. In short, cut teacher pay and/or benefits - which are already lagging private sector compensation for comparable levels of education and experience -  any more and we will not attract the best and the brightest, let alone many average skilled workers.

      What my point referred to, however, was using money as a bonus or add-on external motivator as opposed to salary. Good teachers - which is the vast majority - are already working to capacity and will continue to do so. Adding a monetary "reward" misses this point completely. Any teacher could tell you that merit pay increases competition and places the emphasis on results which are largely out of the control of the teacher.

      Such a model at best reduces student achievement.

      Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

      by michael in chicago on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 02:41:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  No one gets into teaching (12+ / 0-)

    for the money. NO ONE.

    People get into teaching because they are passionate about their subject matter or because they gain non-tangible rewards from it, like the immense satisfaction of watching their students learn complex concepts. I know I get a big charge out of that. Money to most teachers is secondary, except in the case where their pay is being cut to the point they can no longer afford to feed and house their families.

    I was doing my usual Wednesday volunteer thing and the teacher I'm helping asked me if I had a teaching credential because he knew of a part time music teacher position opening up next year he thought I might be interested in. His job. He then told me he's looking for another job in the district and doubted he'd be a music teacher next year.

    As it stands now he makes barely enough working full time to support his young family.

    I told him no, I don't have a credential and even if I did I wouldn't be interested in the job. As a volunteer they have to treat me nice or I simply walk away. As an employee they could treat me like crap because it's more difficult to walk away from a paycheck. Besides I don't want to be demoralized like he is because I wouldn't be able to properly teach.

    Sad, sad sad.

    When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. -Jimi Hendrix -6.0 -5.33

    by Cali Techie on Wed Mar 09, 2011 at 11:49:02 PM PST

    •  Exactly. You can't treat teachers like salesmen. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sandblaster, Cali Techie

      The whole "bonus" idea is idiotic.  Who would take a job if your compensation depended on the performance of 30 people who you had no choice in hiring, they can't be fired, and the greatest influence on their performance (the home environment) is completely out of your control?  Nobody!

      I'm guessing if you took one of these bonuses, divided it amongst the faculty, then divided that by the amount of extra hours a Jaime Escalante puts in, it works out to a few bucks an hour.  That's not motivation!

  •  If they were motivated by cash (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, texasmom, sandblaster, nominalize

    they wouldn't become teachers. Just the facts, man.

    Where there is no vision, there is no hope. George Washington Carver

    by Amayupta yo on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 02:57:33 AM PST

  •  I'm still stuck on figuring out (11+ / 0-)

    exactly how it would be possible to work harder.  I literally can't fit any more into the day.  Weekends are already dedicated to school, I just get up once in a while to switch laundry loads.

    Neither can spouse, who is deadly insulted by the idea he isn't giving his best already.

  •  Gotta love the Arne (4+ / 0-)

    Economist, Moshe Adler writes:

    The statistical evidence is that smaller class size means better education, but smaller class size also means higher taxes. So Education Secretary Arne Duncan chose trickery to divert parents from the clear road.

    At a recent meeting of governors in Washington he suggested that they pay bonuses to the best teachers if they agree to increase their class size. Duncan would prefer to put his own school-age children in a classroom with 28 students led by a “fantastic teacher” rather than in one with 23 and a “mediocre” teacher, he said.

    But what parent wouldn’t? If large class size becomes the sign of a good teacher, no doubt all parents will insist that their child be placed in the largest class that a school has to offer. Unable to fit all students in just one class, however, principals will declare all teachers fantastic and assign large classes to all.

    And the beauty of it is that the demand for large classes will come from the parents themselves. Clever, huh?

  •  Teachers, unlike banksters, are not lab (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader, zoots dream gearle

    rats. The Gates's and Duncans will never understand.

  •  Seeing various merit-pay programs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    instituted in my 33 years in the classroom, I NEVER saw one that worked.  Too many people making the merit-pay decisions didn't know their collective asses from a hole in the ground and were working with data that sprang from their personal, often-very-limited persosnal experience.

    I say hire good teachers, pay them well, and leave the poor bastards alone to do their jobs:  that works.

    There will ALWAYS be a shortage of 'good teachers.'

  •  Changing my mind ... (0+ / 0-)

    My mother was a math teacher.  And a Union "rep" in her school.  So I grew up thinking that the tenured professional teacher, University educated in 4-6  specialized program was the best qualified to teach grades 1-12.

    But reviewing the history of Public Education starting with Maria Montessori a disallusioned reader might conclude that along with the idea of "educating", particularly Working Class children so that early 20th century employers would be able to pick from a vast talent-pool of literate workers ... the was a second agenda, that of creating a dignified and valuable career option for women who did not want to be nurses or in-home governesses.  Until the mid 1050s, the pay was very secondary ... the assumption being that the Old Maids didn't need much, while the Married Women were working for "pin money" and an way to get out of the house.  Elementary school teachers were for the most part Women, being paid less and High School Teachers were more likely to be Men with advanced degrees -- who were 'naturally' paid more.

    Elementary school teachers wanted Parity ... and to get it they were willing to seek advanced academic degrees  (in infamous All But Dissertation PhD) -- without a lot on ANYONE's part whether these courses actually made "teaching children" any easier or produce a better outcome.

    But on the other hand, they also wanted to treat their teaching as a Liberal Profession rather than a "knowledge workers' industrial employment.  Symbolic of that, the practice of every teacher preparing an individual lesson plan for every class in every subject every day.  Although this was often not much more asically make-work homework for Teachers ... it did allow them to think of their Prep Time as valuable, AND their classroom work as "individual" and "creative."

    In order to bolster the idea of teaching as a worthy and valuable profession, teacher tended to model themselves and attempt to model their students after the University elites.  That notion is still with us: the more years of education a person obtains, the higher the level of credentialing they receive, obviously the BETTER their schools and teachers performed.  It is left to the much-reviled Bill Gates to suggest that if academically backward students are taught the skills with which to earn a living the College Admission statistics look bad -- but the children so educated actually have better lives.  Hard part: the education establishment has to have some idea of how people earn their livings and what skills they need to do so.  See Studs Turkle "Working" on the subject of how well the schools do with that !@

    As a result, the Trade Schools and Vocational Schooling, so important and effective in the 20s, 30s and 40s was allowed to languish in favor of College Preparation objectives that fewer students could rationally aspire to.

    So .,.. having for fifty years believed that the PhD, Ivy-educated, union teacher was the best and only way to teach elementary school ...   I'm beginning to think that the first and most valuable ability for a classroom teacher is the knack of keeping the kids attention focussed toward the front of the room.  It's a quality my mom  ... the "strict but fair"  "Mrs. Kessler the Lady Wrestler."  Actually this "gift", like "Officer-Like Bearing" CAN be taught.   It's largely a matter of speaking and distinctly from a posture of unnatural  physical stillness.  (Or  you dress up like Big Bird and perform songs and dances -- that works too.)

    So, now, especially since the barriers to women and minorities teaching in High Schools and Colleges have been largely eliminated ... why NOT "industrialize" the public schoolroom.  Make Class Control a prerequisite, tested for BEFORE entering an Education School.  Why NOT reevaluate if teaching grades K-6 really NEEDs a 4-year degree --   Why not teach "civics", art, music, literature and such as voluntary after-school topics -- or leave them to the parents and the church.

    The Catholic School system used to turn out enormous quantities of moderately well educated High Schoolers in 50-seat classrooms.  (The trade off, of course, was that the pupils who didn't do well in this setting were "held back" or dumped back into the public system -- and there was an overarching understanding that "the world needs street sweepers, also.")

    •  World, meet handbasket (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You'll be going on a little trip together.

      Why not teach "civics", art, music, literature and such as voluntary after-school topics -- or leave them to the parents and the church.


      The minute these become peripheral to education is the minute we lose all we've become beginning with the Renaissance, and turn back toward the Dark Ages.

      And settle.  For lives once again solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

      You can damn sure be certain of one thing.  The rich will never allow their children to consider music, art, or literature merely voluntary parts of the curriculum.  And if we go along with this kind of "industrialization," they will have one more marker to tell them from us, and cement in their feudal dreams.

    •  Um, no (0+ / 0-)
      Make Class Control a prerequisite, tested for BEFORE entering an Education School.  Why NOT reevaluate if teaching grades K-6 really NEEDs a 4-year degree --   Why not teach "civics", art, music, literature and such as voluntary after-school topics -- or leave them to the parents and the church.

      Yes, let's give kids absolutely no reason to go to school and predetermine their futures ahead of time.

      Dude, that paragraph is straight out of Crossroads GPS talk points.

      Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

      by michael in chicago on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 03:03:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  They are giving the money to wrong people (0+ / 0-)

    If you want to see an increase in Desired Behavior and a corresponding decrease in Undesirable Behavior, then you need to offer the Carrot and apply the Stick to the people whose Behavior that you are trying to change....


    The Students.

    After all - it is the students that are tested, not the teachers.  


    Show me the POLICY!

    by Fabian on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 07:58:46 AM PST

    •  Nope (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      David Kaib

      This has been done and also failed miserably.

      This is 1950's Pavlovian behaviorist conditioning type thinking. It doesn't work. Learning has to come from internal motivation, especially at the higher grades.

      Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

      by michael in chicago on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 03:04:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I doubt it has been tried (0+ / 0-)

        nearly as often and with nearly the budget that they use with schools.

        Besides, you'd have to tailor it individually.  Test the kids first - and make the rewards based upon that baseline.  Anyone who makes no progress gets nothing.  Anyone who makes x% improvement gets the first tier reward.  Anyone who makes y% improvement gets the second tier reward and so forth and so on.  It all has to be based on each student's baseline testing.

        I do IEPs for my two children.  We don't talk about how they are doing compared to the national average because the national average is a marginallyl relevant number.  We talk about how they are doing in terms of where they started, how far they have progressed, what we can realistically expect them to accomplish.

        In my utopian school system with an unlimited budget, we'd have IEPs for every student.  It is far more useful and informative than one or two sets of standardized test scores.  

        Show me the POLICY!

        by Fabian on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 03:50:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Heh. (0+ / 0-)

    Most studies of schools keep missing the simplest and (to me) most obvious truth:  A school is a reflection of its community.   While it is absurd to expect a school to single handedly remedy poor parenting, unemployment, lack of health care, poverty, poor education, lack of child care, drug abuse and so on - it IS important to understand that is exactly they need to do in order to provide the best environment for learning.

    So we have:

    School nurses
    School counselors
    Free and reduced lunches and breakfasts
    School sponsored before and after care
    Training to detect child abuse and neglect
    Training to detect mental illness
    Anti bullying programs
    School sponsored GED programs
    School sponsored English as a Second Language programs

    Show me the POLICY!

    by Fabian on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 07:59:18 AM PST

  •  I have been around a lot of years. I have (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michael in chicago, sandblaster

    both worked and volunteered in various school systems.  I have NEVER met a teacher who went into teaching for the money.  Teaching, money.  That's an oxymoron if ever there was one.  Every teacher I have ever met or worked with chose to teach for altruistic reasons and bless them for it.
    Teachers should be among the highest paid workers in any society as a matter of course, not to try to make them competitive.

    Character is who you are when no one is watching.

    by incognita on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 08:14:20 AM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site