January 14, 2004

Do we need to research this?

To all those education majors out there--read this little diddy about pay.

WASHINGTON -- A new report from a commission headed by former IBM Chairman Louis Gerstner Jr. offers a dim view of the nation's teaching force and calls for dramatic changes, including linking teacher pay to student test scores.

I love research that correlates things like the amount of beans one eats corresponds to how much **** one does. The connection has always been there, and yet they pay someone thousands of dollars to prove what they already know. Teachers, well anyone, goes where they will be paid better. The better qualified get paid more. Easy right? Right.

The entire article is sadly hilarious.

The most comical being at the bottom of the page:
*Pay teachers more. The panel said schools should increase salaries for all teachers and pay good teachers even more. Commission members said schools should link educators' pay to students' yearly academic growth, as demonstrated on test scores.

Duh. But does this money even exist? An interesting little site about government spending indicates a 34% of the budget going toward human resources, but many things are involved in that little bracket: Education, Health/Human Services, HUD, Food/Nutrition programs, Labor Department, Soc. Sec. Admin., whereas other areas do not cover as many areas. Though I do not hold the views of the site indicated, I do find the budget lacking in this area.


I am tackling a great big issue, a real get-your-panties-in-a-twist subject, but I think that going back to school has me ready to face life again. So, please, share your wedgie feelings.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at January 14, 2004 9:33 AM

As a general rule, I believe that teachers and most public servants are underpaid given their benefit to society. I'm not convinced that linking pay to student performance is the right way to go. And yes, you are right, that money has to come from somewhere, and that would be my tax money (and your tax money), and we'd have to spend less on something else.

As a side issue, there is a famous example of correlation (I can look up the exact reference if you'd like, but I think it is in German) where it was shown that the number of storks around a village correlated highly with the number of babies being born.

Posted by: Paige at January 14, 2004 7:58 PM

I would love to see that, Paige :-D

Posted by: Amanda at January 14, 2004 10:05 PM

Original German reference: Ornithologische Monatsberichte, 44, No. 2, Jahrgang, 1936, Berlin.

In English, you can look on page 8 of the textbook by Box, G.E.P., Hunter, W.G., and Hunter, J.S. (1978), "Statistics For Experimenters", John Wiley and Sons, New York.

Posted by: Paige at January 15, 2004 11:44 AM

I was reading this in my Lit class, and I started laughing. My professor saw me and asked me what I was laughing about, because what he had just said wasn't funny. I told him, and he said that he wasn't really asking what I was doing, just to shut up. I think I threw him for a loop :-D

Posted by: Amanda at January 15, 2004 5:51 PM

Connecting pay to student achievement is an interesting route, but is it a good one? Amanda, the reasons for the research are pretty obvious, if you ask me. There are good teachers, and there are bad teachers. Paying the good ones more would hopefully provide an incentive for the bad ones to improve; however, this can't possibly be a fool-proof plan because there are things like inclusive education (at least in PA), special education, behavioral problems, and even teachers' educations to consider--they're not all equal in any case--not even from classroom to classroom in the same school. It seems rather impossible to link the two because of the vast differences.

I find it interesting that you put that graph in the same post as your excerpts from the article you found. No, teachers aren't paid enough for what they do and put up with, but is there more money to pay them more? Not really, and where would one find this money for a pay increase? Tax payers, or take it from one and give it to another. Sounds a bit like Robin Hood, but I don't think I'd really make whomever "they" would take it from quite happy.

Just a few thoughts. Education issues rile me up a bit. :^)

Posted by: Karissa at January 15, 2004 8:17 PM
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