June 10, 2005

Tom Friedman solves the education crisis

Brilliant. Rather than paying educators a living wage and leaving standardized testing behind as yet another phenomenally boneheaded product of the twentieth century, we should just talk about how important teachers are. It's a hell of a lot cheaper.

Each of the four teachers is given $2,000, plus a $1,000 donation to his or her high school. The winners and their families are then flown to Williams, located in the lush Berkshires, and honored as part of the graduation weekend.[...]

And the best way to ensure that we have teachers who inspire their students is if we recognize and reward those who clearly have done so.

Imagine if every college in America had a program like Williams's, and every spring, across the land, thousands of great teachers were acknowledged by the students they inspired? "No Great Teachers Left Behind." How about it?

Starting pay for public school teachers is pretty comparable to academic grad school stipends, around $15k. After working in this incredibly (existentially) rewarding and psychologically demanding job (you try dealing with teenagers 70 hours a week, plus spending your free time prepping for those 70 hours) for a couple decades, a public school teacher in a good district can make $60k, meaning they might actually be able to afford to live in their district (assuming they don't have more than one kid). Yeah, the possibility of a nice weekend, a couple thousand bucks (yay! I can get the transmission on my car fixed!), and a little semi-public recognition is all we need to make teaching a viable, attractive profession again.


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