Thursday, September 25, 2008

More Mis-placed Money for Education

A new $44 million educational research effort is beginning. The premise behind the new Educational Innovation Laboratory is that educational programs have not been subjected to enough rigorous testing. This, I agree with. However, given the need for large research projects on fundamental educational issues (as implied by the need for this new laboratory to begin with) the fact that they're planning to begin by studying incentive programs like paying students for good test grades is absurd. How about starting with some actual fundamental educational issues like, say, teacher pay? And if the money is only going to be used to study whether students learn better if they're given more cell phone hours when they get good grades, please just forgo the research and give the money directly to the schools - there's already plenty of research showing that will actually make a difference.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

How much are teachers paid, and how much should they be paid? At least in the New York City school system, I think teachers are paid quite well.

Is there evidence that paying a small amount more will attract better teachers? What jobs are potential teachers taking instead, and would teacher salaries ever be able to compete?

I ask these in seriousness, not rhetorically.

sorelle said...

I believe that teachers should be paid competitively with other jobs that they could take with equivalent education (usually a BA and a Masters). For math teachers, for example, I'd say the starting salary should be around 70,000 - after all, the competing jobs are as an actuary for example.

Teachers Have it Easy goes through the details of the known research about salaries, so I'll just say that yes, there is evidence that paying more would attract better and more teachers (which would imply more selection for the schools which would imply better teachers). Paying a small amount more? That of course depends on what small is... and I don't know the answer to that one.