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Thread: The Failure of American Schools

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008


    This is brilliant.
    Thanks for posting it, Dave.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Wayland MA


    Lots to consider--a few that jump out at me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Klein
    In essence, you hold constant other factors—where the students start from the prior year, demographics, class size, teacher length of service, and so on—and, based on test results, seek to isolate the individual teacher’s contribution to a student’s progress.
    I'm all for making student gains part of a teacher's evaluation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Klein
    Eric Hanushek, an economist at Stanford, has shown that, while some teachers get a year and a half’s worth of learning into a year, others get in only half a year’s worth of learning with essentially the same students.
    This is a huge statement about the value that teachers deliver (or fail to), and speaks to the need for much improved colleges of education and better systems for hiring, training, mentoring, evaluating, and where necessary, removing teachers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Klein
    But we still won’t get to where we need to go unless we’re prepared to do three difficult, but essential, things: rebuild our entire K–12 system on a platform of accountability; attract more top-flight recruits into teaching; and use technology very differently to improve instruction.
    Agreed on all three points, although I think that accountability requires not the rebuilding of "our entire K-12 system," but rather, a rebuilding of part of that system--namely, the evaluation and compensation of teachers and administrators. That's not to say that there aren't merits to rebuilding other elements of the system, just that improved accountability doesn't rely on so broad an overhaul.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Klein
    I once proposed a portion of this—simply eliminating the lifetime, defined-benefit pension, monetizing the savings, and then paying it to teachers in their early years—in a conversation with union officials.
    I'd be interested to see the math here: is there enough money in the defined-benefit pension system and in automatic "step and lane" increases to provide for the front-loading that Klein advocates? Taking salaries for newer teachers from on the order of $40k to $80k sounds expensive, even if future increases are limited to only cost of living adjustments. And would such an overall salary adjustment truly be enough to attract people who would be better teachers?


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