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Topic: Details on New Teacher Equity Equality Plan
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 13,809
Registered: 12/3/04
Details on New Teacher Equity Equality Plan
Posted: Jul 9, 2014 4:24 PM
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From CURMUDGUCATION - A grumpy old teacher trying to keep up the good
classroom fight in the new age of reformy stuff, Tuesday, July 8,
2014. See http://www.curmudgucation.blogspot.com/ -- Our thanks to
Chii Muni for bringing this piece to our attention.
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Details on New Teacher Equity Equality Plan

This aspect of school reform has been lurking around the edges for
some time-- the notion that once we find the super-duper teachers, we
could somehow shuffle everybody around and put the supery-duperest in
front of the neediest students. But though reformsters have
occasionally floated the idea, the feds have been reluctant to really
push it.

Now that the current administration has decided to bring that federal
hammer down on this issue, you're probably wondering what they have
in mind for insuring that the best teachers will be put in front of
the students who have the greatest need. I'm here to tell you what
some of the techniques will be.

Before Anything Else, Mild Brain Damage Required

Any program like this requires the involved parties to believe that
teachers are basically interchangeable cogs in a huge machine. We
will have to assume that a teacher who is a great teacher of wealthy
middle school students will be equally successful with students in a
poor urban setting. Or vice-versa, as you will recall that Duncan's
pretty sure it's the comfy suburban kids who are actually failing. We
have to assume that somebody who has a real gift for connecting with
rural working class Hispanic families will be equally gifted when it
comes to teaching in a high-poverty inner city setting.

And, of course, as always, we'll have to assume that teachers who are
evaluated as "ineffective" didn't get that rating for any reason
other than their own skills-- the students, families, resources and
support of the school, administration, validity of the high stakes
tests, the crippling effects of poverty-- none of those things
contributed to the teacher's "success" or lack thereof.

Once everybody is on board with this version of reality, we can start
shuffling teachers around.

Financial Incentives

Schools with great need and challenge often have trouble attracting
top teachers, so let's throw money at them. And since an underlying
problem for high needs schools is that they don't have money to throw
at their problems, we'll have to use tax money from the state. Which
means that wealthy school districts will fork over extra tax money to
help convince the teachers at those wealthy schools to leave and go
elsewhere. I don't anticipate any complaints about this at all.

Bait and Switch

Simply tell new teacher grads that they have been hired by Big Rich
High School and drive them over to Poor Underfunded High School
instead. With any luck, you can get some work out of them before they
figure it out.

Indentured Teachitude

The federal government will pay for your teacher education, but you
then owe them seven years of teaching at the school of their choice.
As I type this, I'm thinking it has actual promise. Sure, they won't
know if you're great at first, but once you've taught a year or two,
they'll have an idea and if you are a really great teacher they'll
ship you to one of the underfunded, collapsing schools with high
populations of students who are at risk, but if you turn out to be
lousy, they'll stick you in some cushy already-successful school
where...oh, wait. Never mind.

Rendering

Teams visit the homes of excellent teachers in the middle of the
night, tie a bag over their heads and throw them into a van. Days
later, the excellent teachers wake up in their new classroom.

The Draft

All the teachers in the state go in a giant pool. The schools of the
state will go in reverse order of success last year and draft
teachers. We could also do this as a Chinese auction. Chinese
auctions are fun.

The Lottery

All the effective teachers' names go in a giant drum, from which they
are drawn for assignment. May the odds be ever in their favor.

Note

For both the draft and the lottery, no teachers ever buy homes or
settle into communities. Under these systems, states may want to
offer teachers good deals on nice campers, fancy Winnebagos, or
modified school buses. At last, every teacher can live like a rock
star (I'm a Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem guy myself).

One Other Alternative

States could take the actions necessary to make sure that every
single school had all the resources it needed, that it was fully
staffed, fully funded as well as clean and safe and fully functional.
States could take the actions necessary to make teaching an
attractive profession with job security, great pay, and the kind of
autonomy and power that makes a profession attractive to intelligent
grown-ups. States could offer incentives and support for college
students who pursue teaching. States could provide support and
assistance for teachers, so that great teachers were free to be great
and teachers struggling to find their way could become great. State
and federal government could reduce the burden of dumb regulations,
destructive mandates, and wasteful, punishing tests (reducing to
"none" would be the best goal here). In short, states could invest
the money and resources to make all schools so attractive that so
many teachers want to work there that every administrator in every
building in the state gets to choose from among the best and the
brightest to find the very best fit for the students.

Fun Puzzle

Among these alternatives I have included one that nobody in power is
even remotely considering right now. Can you guess which one it is?

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