Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Food for thought

Here is (in my humble opinion) a very well–written article from Steve Lopez in the L. A. Times about hiring/firing issues at the Los Angeles Unified School District in light of all of the recent budgetary woes.

Education is one of those things that tends to be tossed about and tinkered with by politicians, and to a lesser extent, journalists, angling for votes or more attention, respectively. It's always easier to spout off trite slogans than it is to come up with innovative ideas that might actually change things for the better. The types of silly hiring policies referred to in the article above that predominate in education are a major reason why (a) quantity is valued over quality and (b) younger people don't want to go into education, at least to work for a large urban public school district such as LAUSD. (Here is another article recently published describing the lengths to which LAUSD must go to recruit teachers.)

Also equally counterproductive: ridiculous and outdated lockstep salary schedules in which experience (not always good or quality experience) and education (oftentimes largely useless degrees, credentials, and professional development) determine how teachers are paid. If all teachers are paid the same, regardless of how well or how poorly they do their job, then what incentive is there to do go that extra mile? I think there are legions of un– and under–appreciated teachers who labor away in the salt mines of schools while their mediocre and incompetent colleagues get paid the same to read newspapers in class while giving students useless tasks. The real question is, why should those teachers go above and beyond if there's no recognition of their efforts? Actually, the REAL real question is how do the politicians and, quite frankly, the public at large, allow this state of affairs to persist and simultaneously wonder why students aren't staying in school (not to mention the substandard accomplishments of those students that DO graduate)?

No comments:

Post a Comment