Friday, August 28, 2009

Rick Hess from the American Enterprise Institute says pay teachers more and ask more from them

Rick Hess from the American Enterprise Institute asserts that if we want better teaching we need to pay better teachers more, recruit teachers later in life, and reduce paperwork. "This is an extravagant waste of talent."

Class Size and Pay: A Tradeoff?
Education Week
August 27, 2009

American Enterprise Institute edu-maverick Rick Hess has this provocative essay in the most recent issue of Education Next. He brings up a lot of interesting ideas about recruiting career-changers and deploying teachers differently in the classroom.

But the thing that really stopped me in my tracks was this observation on class-size reduction.

"In this decade, as states overextended their commitments during the real estate boom, the ranks of teachers grew at nearly twice the rate of student enrollment. If policymakers had maintained the same overall teacher-to-student ratio since the 1970s, we would need 1 million fewer teachers, training could be focused on a smaller and more able population, and average teacher pay would be close to $75,000 per year."

...Would we now have better teachers? After all, as economists will volubly tell you, when you change things like compensation, you effect change in the talent pool that applies for jobs. (It is one of the theories behind performance-based compensation.)

Teachers, which would you prefer: a class size of, say, 15-to-1 and your current salary, or a $75,000 salary and a class size of, say, 30-to-1?

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