Today’s entry -I am not writing to convince you that bad teachers, and there are plenty, should get more pay, but rather that we may want to consider a way to get better teachers into those roles. Let me give you an analogy that should be easy to relate to; investments. For most parents, their children are their most precious investments, deserving the best available resources for their nurturing and growth, far more important than any stock portfolio. I have met many teachers over the years who came across as "mediocre", and not the best possible resource. There are also plenty of stories about teachers who get into trouble in ways ranging from political bias to inappropriate relationships with students.
So, what if investment brokers had their salary capped at a certain value by law such that these types of positions would not attract the best talent, but only mediocre talent? It would be frustrating for anybody who wanted to invest but would always worry that their investments were not in the best possible hands. To attract better talent, obviously the cap would need to be lifted but just paying more to the mediocre people already in those positions would not solve the problem. Rather, there would need to be a way to purge the mediocre talent and replace it with talent that has been verified to be superior.
In summary, I think it is a good idea to make sure that the best possible talent is tending to our most precious investments, which would mean pay increases, but it would need to be proven that the talent is actually well-worth that extra pay.
Bottom Line: I appreciate the direction you’re heading with this line of thinking. It’s part of what I’ve been attempting to do by providing information and challenging the status quo. If you’ve missed my stories this week, I’d encourage you to check them out.
Here’s the first new fact I have for you today. The US now ranks 27th in education. So, Florida’s 27th in education in the 27th country for education. Furthermore, the whole education establishment is broken. That ties into your point. Here we are, the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world and our education is 27th? There’s simply no excuse but there is an explanation. In 1980, the United States ranked 2nd in the world in education, Australia edged us out. That was the year the Department of Education, created by Democrats in Congress and signed into law by Democrat Jimmy Carter became law. It was the completion of the government’s takeover of the education establishment. What’s happened since? It’s been nowhere but down.
The US was 2nd in education before the Department of Education. Now, it’s 27th and still declining. In 1979, 5% of total government spending went to education, it’s still at 5%. So, if we’re spending the same relative amount on education and getting substantially worse results and the major change during that period was the creation of the Department of Education, what does that tell you? Spending more on a system that’s flawed is essentially the definition of insanity. The reason I’ve been such a vocal supporter of school choice isn’t because the other options are perfect, but they do represent changing the status quo.
If every household in Florida were given $4,102 for grade school education per year what would we choose to do with it? Would it look the same as it does today? There’s no way that if American families had full choice, rather than bureaucrats, grade school education would resemble anything close to what it does today. It’s just like healthcare. What happened to it once we allowed government and insurance companies to take over? 68% of healthcare spending goes to insurance companies, 32% to actual medical care.
When I said I need to see a plan from the governor on how dramatic increases in teacher pay would produce better results, I meant it. I want to see what’s different other than we’ll be able to recruit more teachers. We can recruit all the teachers we want and pay them a gazillion dollars but if the system itself is the problem what have we accomplished?
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