Why don’t they just end teaching as a career and be done with it? Have the PhD’s develop scripts for each subject that are updated every four years and give them to people straight out of college who will teach for no more than 3 years, and *bang* you’re done. Costs are down. Administrators can keep their 6 figure salaries for holding down their chairs, Ivory tower intellectuals are safe and you save America from those evil, evil teachers. Good thinking Bill Gates. Oh and Bill…those Small Schools programs…extremely brilliant- they sure have improved the state of education since you started funding them right? I mean…no one can fudge stats, right? You da man BG!
The value of measuring effectiveness is clear when you compare teachers to members of other professions - farmers, engineers, computer programmers, even athletes. These professionals are more advanced than their predecessors - because they have clear indicators of excellence, their success depends on performance and they eagerly learn from the best.
The same advances haven’t been made in teaching because we haven’t built a system to measure and promote excellence. Instead, we have poured money into proxies, things we hoped would have an impact on student achievement. The United States spends $50 billion a year on automatic salary increases based on teacher seniority. It’s reasonable to suppose that teachers who have served longer are more effective, but the evidence says that’s not true. After the first few years, seniority seems to have no effect on student achievement.
Another standard feature of school budgets is a bump in pay for advanced degrees. Such raises have almost no impact on achievement, but every year they cost $15 billion that would help students more if spent in other ways.
Perhaps the most expensive assumption embedded in school budgets - and one of the most unchallenged - is the view that reducing class size is the best way to improve student achievement. This belief has driven school budget increases for more than 50 years. U.S. schools have almost twice as many teachers per student as they did in 1960, yet achievement is roughly the same.
“I care not how humble your bookshelf may be, or how lonely the room which it adorns. Close the door of that room behind you, shut off with it all the cares of the outer world, plunge back into the soothing company of the great dead, and then you are through the magic portal into that fair land whither worry and vexation can follow you no more. You have left all that is vulgar and all that is sordid behind you. There stand your noble, silent comrades, waiting in their ranks. Pass your eye down their files. Choose your man. And then you have but to hold up your hand to him and away you go together into dreamland.”—Arthur Conan Doyle, Through the Magic Door (via bookoasis)