Thursday, February 24, 2011

What do football players and teachers have in common?

Tonight's debate reminded me of an article written by Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker. It brings up the impact of teachers' unions on education reform. Gladwell compares teachers to NFL draft picks, illustrating how it is almost impossible to anticipate which will succeed and which will be terrible teachers. As far as we can tell, there is little correlation between expected indicators (such as a master's degree or teacher's certification) and teacher performance. Gladwell suggests that educational reforms should mirror the hiring process of the financial-advice field--instead of raising standards, we should be lowering them, allowing many more applicants and then eliminating them based on their performance. Wages should also be reformed to reflect teachers' statuses. Gladwell's solution could greatly increase the quality of our teachers, but is it feasible? Teachers' unions may prevent such reforms from ever taking place.

Thoughts? I highly suggest you guys read the article--not only an interesting topic but also a pleasure to read (in my opinion).

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