Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Two quotes presented without comment

Far too much of school districts' money and administrators' time has been spent trying to dismiss ineffective teachers — funds and time that could have been spent far more productively on improving education.
LAUSD superintendent John Deasy on tenure (previously discussed here)

Los Angeles schools chief John Deasy has offered to resign in February, according to a proposed settlement obtained by The Times and other media outlets Tuesday.

Under the proposed agreement, which was presented last Friday to Board of Education President Richard Vladovic, Deasy would resign Feb. 1, 2014. He would then continue to be available as a consultant through June 30, 2015. That arrangement would have allowed Deasy to receive his $330,000 annual salary for the balance of his contract.
From a 2013 news story. Deasy, of course, ended up staying.

1 comment:

  1. I have no problem with making it easier to get rid of bad performing teachers, but I think we should be very clear that wielding a stick is a limited way of improving overall efficiency. Most of the world outside of education recognizes that incentives not only attract better talent but that they motivate performance.

    I question the commitment of people who speak of wielding sticks to reform education. Do they actually want to improve the quality of teaching or are they more interested in keeping the costs down?

    I understand this is different from a stupid decision to buy a pile of technology, but if the education system's quality depends on perfect allocations of capital then we have a problem because I'm unaware of any organization which achieves that. Private businesses regularly discard investments. They try things because they hope they will work and that the investment will return profit and they drop things that don't work. I find it more than ironic but actually somewhat stupid that government entities - like the schools, like cities themselves - are encouraged to "act like businesses" and then are excoriated when they make a poor investment. This again says the commitment to "market ideas" is paper thin: make a wrong investment and you're held to a standard we don't apply to actual private businesses.

    Again, outside of education, how do you attract better teachers? Police have figured out - and sold to the public - that better educated cops are better cops so they receive extra money to get education and that ups their pay (and benefits), costing the public a lot of money. Bankers move to the place that pays them the most and which gives them the specific freedoms they desire in their work. But teachers? The main idea seems to be that we need to punish the non-performers, that turning out x% every year is the way to generate quality. These aren't Marines who signed up for the abuse.

    BTW, the best way to improve teacher quality is to improve principal quality but that's very hard to do because a principal is a fairly high level manager and we aren't able to produce many of those, as anyone with any experience in any form of actual work in a company knows.