Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Acting White: Obama, Calling Mr. Kotter

Interesting carrot the Obama team is dangling in front of school administrators and teachers across the country, a sort of a baseball bat made to look like a carrot, or vice-versa, depending on your perspective. And it’s not a small carrot at that, $4.3 billion dollars, to be exact. Only thing is that some folks are miffed because the president is trying to inject vitality into and education dynamic, long in need of over-haul.

Specifically, Obama is offering the funds, under his "Race To The Top" program, only to school systems that link teacher evaluations to the performance of their students. Huh? That socialist S.O.B! So if he wants to do this, I’m wondering what pay is tied to today? Turns out that teacher’s get evaluated based on longevity and their own schooling, not student results. So, if I’m a teacher today and I want a raise, I go to school at night and in the summers, and game the classroom to minimize its outside distraction (on me), unless I have true dedication and a sugar-daddy/momma taking up the bill-paying slack at home.

Some state legislatures are considering changing laws on the books, California being one, which make it illegal to link teacher evaluation and pay to student results. Wow! Illegal! Education - a profession where the law forbids your boss from considering how well you actually teach, when it comes to your pay. It’s no wonder that our schools are failing.

Now do I think that this fixes things? Not by a long shot. We are still stuck in a back-end quality control mindset, rather than one of front-end assurance. But this move sends a nice signal about where education priorities should reside - between the student brains and teacher wallets. Welcome Back Kotter.

James C. Collier


Technorati Tags: , , , , ,


Anonymous said...

"Turns out that teacher’s get evaluated based on longevity and their own schooling, not student results."

This not specific to (public school) teachers. Every government job, aside from a few high-level positions, is compensated this way. It's one of the main reasons why the government bureaucracy is so enormous, inefficient, and incompetent. It is commonplace for a government employee to immediately, upon receiving the rubber-stamp of lifetime employment, begin searching for a new hire to do their former job while they "supervise" and count the hours until retirement.

As a left-coaster, I'm guessing that you don't have as much experience with the federal government as I do. It's an abomination to anyone familiar with the concepts of "work ethic" or "accountability". Cronyism, patronage, and the proliferation of no-bid contracts - often solicited by employees eager to hand off their work to somebody else, at the taxpayer's expense - would be funny if they weren't so real.

Back on point, I applaud this effort if the money is indeed being handed out with "accountability" strings attached. It resembles what Michelle Rhee is trying to do to fix DC public schools, much to the teacher's union's dismay.

sungod said...

well i kinda disagree true teachers are grossly under-compensated for their efforts but to solely base pay on student achievement is tricky. If a student doesnt learn he/she may just not wanna learn there should be more probing into why a lot of schools fall short of academic standards. Also it goes beyond school itz about that paper a lot of kids dont see the light at the end of the tunnel. Why go to school when you can become an athlete etc. and make more money and be in less debt in the end?

Anonymous said...

My daughter teaches and has told me many horror stories of which she has NO control over and most of how students learn or are disciplined is based on how that particular school system decides.

Teachers are not solely in charge of how well a student learns. If so I could see how it would be positive to do that but until then no.

What schools really need is room monitoring with live tv webcams so the true disruptive not going to learn students can be identified and ejected for the sakes of the ones that do want to learn.

Then hold the parents responsible.

Anonymous said...

Quality education must be implemented this time around. I agree that teachers are not solely in charge of how well a student learns. students must be monitored so we can see if they are really learning..

acting coach los angeles

Smile said...

Yes, yes, yes. Education is so important. All the time spent in class room is not getting a big return. First, if anyone actually cares about education these caring people would insist on simplifying education. IOW, education should concentrate on education rather then complicate it with all the social tweaking. So, what do these people really care about?

My daughter-in-law is a teacher. She has an increase because she has her masters. Cool huh?

Also, teaching sex ed to children is an exciting challenge and of course so necessary. It has had an impact as well, look at the past decades....improvement much? What do we care about here?

It wouldn't be helpful to insist that our educational institutions concentrate solely on education, their actual job, as there are so many social issues that need tending. What are we caring about here?

Okay, all done ranting. Talk amongst yourselves for a few more years.