Sunday, March 20, 2011

A nice post on Education Reform

There is a nice post in the Daily Kos talking about education reform. The whole piece is worth noting but this point seems especially apt:

Those advocating the end of seniority-based retention practices in favor of "performance" based on student test scores have to concede that districts, which must stretch dollars these days like never before, will be tempted to staff their classes in such a way to protect their younger (and, it must be noted, markedly cheaper) staff members.

I will never forget in my third year on the job drawing a Freshman Geography class that felt, on bad days, like a training session for America's Most Wanted. When I half-jokingly teased a counselor about how I managed to draw every wild-eyed boy in the freshman class, she smiled and told me, "But, Steve, we all know how good you are with difficult students."

At the time, I took it for the backhanded compliment that it was. In this brave new world being promoted by the GOP (and an alarming number of Democrats), it would be my ticket to lower pay. Worse yet, it could be my ticket out of the profession.

The worry here is that, in the short term, this approach will save a lot of money. Having a lot of inexpensive and enthusiastic junior teachers will do wonders for budgets (at a time when tax cuts are a priority). While teachers will recognize what is happening, in an environment with unemployment hovering around 10% (and basic things like Health Insurance depending on employment) it is likely that schools will not suffer in the short term. In the long term, the new world of teaching will require much higher pay for equally qualified teachers as we know have to compensate the teachers for the fear and uncertainty in such a system.

Not to mention to concern that class assignments could be used to protect liked but less capable teachers. Do we have a solid plan for preventing this from happening?

No comments:

Post a Comment