[There's been a nice discussion on another education listserve that seems appropriate here as well. (wb)]
At 12:47 AM 8/27/00 -0700, Xxxx Xxxx wrote:
>Not so long ago, San Diego lost some large engineering firms and many >engineers couldn't find jobs due to the economy. A very few went through >the credentialing process and became teachers. Many more older engineers >had to find work well below their ...
Not so long ago, the entire southern California region suffered an immense, historic even, turn-down in (especially) aerospace industries, some of which were willing to offer nice parachutes, early tho modest retirement packages combined with transitional training to new jobs. Mathematics and/or science teaching were naturals because of the original education that many of these people had had; some industries were willing to provide reduced salary for some length of time to help make the transition to public school teaching, help keep-up payments on the house, etc. The education industry almost recoiled in horror. Very few made the transition and when they did it was in spite of the system, not because of it.
Of course, increasing salaries dramatically would entice more and higher caliber candidates to apply but,
1. Politically, it's not going to happen. My son just bought a west-side townhouse, less than a year into his fresh-out-of-Berkeley, down-town lawyer job (with some head-hunter offers from other companies to offer him confidence that this extension is not over-extension). Schools are not going to be competitive with that, not ever, and
2. Politically, this would have to be across the board. Proven incompetents, many in positions of influence would still dominate the industry. It is very possible that the industry could spend three times as much as it does and still be no better off. In fact, that experiment has been done. Kansas City, MO, is the model for the country in this regard. By stupid court mandate, taxpayers across Missouri had to send lots of tax dollars to KC for more than a decade. Some $15,000 per student to upgrade buildings, buy new equipment, provide the best computer support, and pay to get the best teachers. They went into all the progressive ideas in the biggest possible way and a huge "If we build it they will come" mentality to encourage the reversal of bright-flight. It didn't happen. Last spring, after a final warning a year or so earlier, the state jerked the entire district's accreditation. Student performance progress had been nil. They still weren't teaching kids to read in K-1, or absolutely by the end of 2, but all is well. Well..., it isn't.
Without a dramatic shake-up in quality control of the industry, nothing will change. It wasn't the workers in Detroit that sent us to Asia for our cars, it was top management, and even it could not operate until it had the authority to make painful, but necessary, decisions. My hope is that the current, more rational testing mentality, California's standards-based approach, and the national home-school and voucher movements will be the needed catalysts. But I ain't gonna bet the house.