Paying bad teachers to quit


Update: The below post was blatant Sam-baiting and worked like a charm.

I’m no expert in education, but it seems to me we have a problem on our hands when there is demand for something like this.

An group is offering $10,000 for the 10 worst union-protected teachers in America to quit. Nominate yours today.

Watch your back, Mrs Jaffe.

Let’s sing it from the hills: Labor unions suck with (almost) no exceptions. They suck especially hard when they compromise our education system and future national competitiveness.

(With no objections in the comments section, the above ruling stands)


5 Responses to “Paying bad teachers to quit”

  1. Sam Says:

    I object on principle, although I admittedly don’t know much about unions. Who will advocate for the workers? Low skilled American wages have not kept pace with inflation over the past 30 years, despite economic growth.

    Owners of capital have trade associations and other networks to push their interests (Davos anyone?).

    I agree that unions can have adverse effects, and I’ve heard that they are a large part of the problem in education right now. Can we get some insight from our knowledgeable readers?

  2. Willis Says:

    Unions are neither inherently good, not do they necessarily advocate the best outcome for their membership (despite this being their primary task) as history has shown us.
    In my opinion it depends more on the incentivces that exist for the union leaderhip, as well as the nature of the unions themselves. While unions in the US generally have a bad rep, and this often is deserved, without their help our miners would today have absolutely no safety measures in place, for example (because Bush has dismantled any meaningful policing of the industry from the government’s side). So that is a good example where a union can help balance the power imbalance between the concentrated financial capital of the industrialist (for lack of a better term) and the difuse human capital.
    On the other hand, unions easily lead to the protection of the weakest element of their membership, i.e. for the case of teachers. But this is not always so. The European guilde system was an early union, and membership was a guarantee of excellent workmanship. Maybe if our teachers’ unions underwent strict internal quality control, today’s kids wouldn’t be such damn fools, and teachers could still earn a decent living by extracting living wages from the school systems because the schools would know they’re getting quality for paying the big bucks.

  3. Sam Says:

    Phil you wyly SOB. Am I that predictable? Thanks for the good points, Willis.

  4. Kathleen Says:

    This is dumb-headed stunt completely misunderstands WHY there are so many shitty teachers—it implies that behind every about-to-retire ditto-addicted lazy ass managing-fantasy-football-leagues from his desk tenured teacher there is some better candidate eager to jump in and really teach. No. The vast majority of talented teachers, unionized or not, quit for free because they can’t handle their impotent rage. Plus, they can make more money temping. Post-college idealism is handily slain by an illiterate 15 year old who will only refer to you as “puta.”
    Even in states with no unions, like Texas, teachers have complete job security because nobody else wants those jobs. Bright people self-select out of the profession and the shitty ones are left. That money would be better spent trying to keep a good teacher in the classroom.
    Also—nominating the “worst” teacher you know? So stupid. People are going to nominate themselves. I might nominate myself right now. Thats a lot of money. I would totally be willing to suck at my job for that kind of a bonus.

  5. phil Says:

    Kathleen — really appreciate the comments.

    What you are saying (and excuse the paraphrase) is that at the rate the government is willing to pay teachers, too few qualified candidates are willing to take the job. So what happens is the rolls get filled with low-quality teachers who are willing to accept a low wage in exchange for a job where they can manage their fantasy football leagues etc.

    I’m willing to buy this premise.

    Now — what is the impact of teacher unions on this arrangement? The teachers (some of whom are under-qualified) secure “tenure” in their jobs and possibly extract some additional pay through the participation in the union. As wages rise as a result of union activity, people who were once unwilling to take the job throw in an application. The wage inflation attacks the core of the problem and is a positive factor — the “tenure” clause exacerbates the problem (same bad teachers, but at higher cost to the state)

    The fundamental problem though is that this is not a market system. Actually — to be more precise the government is placing value on the wrong commodity. The government values an “education” at a certain level (let’s call it X!) and hires the number (and quality) of teachers to maximize X weighing the cost of achieving it. They reach an equilibrium: A sufficient number of shitty teachers at a low wage.

    Were the government to value education quality (as measured through test scores, college admittance .. I don’t know?) instead of quantity, you would probably reach a new equilibrium with a higher wage. To me, the core of the issue is how success is measured.

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