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[OT] Teachers (Was:Re: King Donald)

On 2017-02-02 15:18, Disaster Master wrote:
On Thu Feb 02 2017 03:53:46 GMT-0500 (Eastern Standard Time), Ron Hunter
<rphunter@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Some way to accurately assess the efficiency of teachers, and teaching
methods, IS needed.  Is testing the students the right way?  I don't
think so.  It ends up with teachers who have to 'teach to the test',
rather than teaching the curriculum.
After 5 years subbing in three districts, I came away with a pretty good
idea of what ISN'T working.  We need some better ideas.

The above is a good idea, but without a penalty clause, fails miserably.

In addition we would need to abolish Teachers Unions, and engage in some
form of merit system.

There is, it's called the salary grid: the rows align with qualifications, the columns with years of experience. In Ontario, it takes a graduate degree or equivalent plus 10 to 12 years experience to reach maximum pay. Theoretically, that could be done in 18 years or so after high school, but most teachers start at a lower level, and take summer school and evening classes to add qualifications.

I know a lot of people who just want school systems to be able to fire
bad teachers. They can't right now, and that is an extreme problem that
must be resolved, but rather than some 'board' having that power, how
about a free market solution?

I saw a Stossel show once on this, and a really interesting idea was
presented, whereby teachers would be rated, think like an online rating
system (there would have to be some kind of controls put in place), and
potential customers could sign their children up for their teacher of

One year, rating teachers was tried here. It was abandoned when every teacher received "best" and "worst" ratings from students and parents. (True, some received more of one than the other.) For that matter, there were (probably still are) Rate Your Teacher websites. Reading them was interesting: students rated a teacher as good or bad for the same characteristics.

Teachers would be in direct control of what they charge, just like
independent contractors. The more demand for their services, the more
they can charge.

Like lawyers? Cool. I'd love to have had that kind of control over my professional life. But it won't happen. Too many parents who don't want their kids learning anything that interferes with parental control. And pressure groups who don't want anybody learning ideas that disrupt their fantasies. Etc.

So, basically a free market solution to teaching.

There is no free market. All markets are controlled. (The reason employers don't like unions is that workers, quite naturally, want to control the labour market to benefit themselves instead of their employers.) Stossel's scheme would of course lead to teachers forming professional associations just as lawyers and doctors etc do. Is that agreeable to you?

And with the advent of online courses, it would be possible for teachers
to maintain much larger classrooms.

If online courses worked as well as you apparently imagine they do, they would have replaced most live teaching already. In any case, no teacher can _teach_ more than about 6 or 8 students at a time, online or live. A teacher can _instruct_ up to about 30 students per classroom, and _present information_ to about 150 students. If you want meaningful evaluation and feedback to the student, a teacher can handle about half that number in total.

Wolf K.
It's called "opinion" because it's not knowledge.
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