Thanks to reforms implemented by Gov. Pat McCrory (R), North Carolina now assigns each of its public schools a letter grade, to help parents understand where their child’s school ranks relative to other schools across the state.
There is a bill under consideration in the Minnesota Legislature that, unfortunately, is not likely to become law. The bill would change teacher tenure in the state and replace “last in, first out” practices regarding teacher layoffs. If passed, the legislation would effectively force school boards to judge teachers based on performance when layoffs occur, rather than seniority alone.
Behavioral psychologists and economists have considered incentives to be a normal part of human nature for decades, if not centuries, but applying them to education still stokes controversy. For example, some people recoil at the idea of paying kids and their teachers for high scores on Advanced Placement tests that get students college credit in high school, as some schools in Northern Virginia are doing,
Matt Damon made headlines a few years ago when he went on an expletive-laced screed about teachers’ poor (not his word, but close) salaries. It’s personal to him because Damon’s mother is an early childhood education professor.
Let’s agree with Damon that good teachers should earn a lot. The job can be very demanding, and it is crucial to society. So what would it take to pay teachers a great salary — say, something around $90,000 a year or more? That’s actually possible, without raising taxes or adding to the great American debt mountain. Here are three major barriers to that.
That is what our system needs. Not third-party payers who know they can always raise premiums to cover these ridiculous costs so never bother to argue, but engaged (and sometimes enraged) consumers who refuse to be treated like patsies.