Saturday, March 26, 2005

Thanks to decades of liberal politicians insisting the problem with education is that we’re not spending enough, we now have a vast educracy of people making $50,000 - $100,000 who cannot spell “Fourth.”

To me, D.C. is the most telling example of how wrongheaded this idea is. D.C. public schools spend ~$9,000 per pupil and have some of the lowest scoring students in the country. D.C. Catholic schools spend ~$3,000 per pupil and have some of the highest.

I have a few friends in the education sector and they all say the public sector jobs are more desirable – better pay, better benefits. This has not led, however, to the public sector doing a better job educating as we were promised (remember all those speeches in the 1990s saying “if we can just attract the best and brightest?”). Why hasn’t this worked as promised? The answer is obvious: in the private sector, success creates money; while the money may draw the best and brightest, they still have to achieve something to coax that money from the free marketplace and those who do the best job end up with the most money. In the public sector, success is not required; the money is seized from the taxpayers whether they like it or not and distributed not by market-determined merit but by legislative act and bureaucratic whim.

It's not a problem of "good" teachers or "bad" teachers. The problem is a system that rewards seniority and accreditation over achievement and merit. Even the brightest and most motivated teachers are going to fail in a system that does not encourage and reward doing a better job of educating.

Thanks to Powerline for the link.

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