Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

More A's, More Pay

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the teaching-to-the-paycheck dept.

Education 366

theodp writes "Little slashdotters may find teacher a tad more upset when they screw up on a test. The Dept. of Education just launched the first federal program that uses bonuses to motivate teachers who raise test scores in at-risk communities, awarding $42M this month to 16 school systems. Any fears that teachers might cook the books to score a typical $5,000 payoff? Not to worry, says Chicago's school chief, there are statistical analyses in place that spot testing irregularities, presumably better at catching Cheaters than those used in the past."

cancel ×

366 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

This is cronyism at its finest (5, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820000)

This is unbelievable and one of the reasons I've always "lobbied" against public education where teachers are also graders. It is my firm belief that you don't grade your own work. If you're a programmer, do you get to grade your programming?

In any public job, allowing the employee to grade their output is going to end up with the grades falling into the average level as much as possible. If a public employee has too many failing students, they'll get fired. If they have too many students doing above average, they don't have a reason to ask for more money. With mostly average students (say, grade C or so), you can always say you can do better with more money. Since most teachers don't have a student for more than a few years, this can go on ad infinitum.

I'm against publicly funded education entirely, but I would be 100% satisfied with TRUE free market grading systems. The ACT and SAT are not realistic scoring systems -- even though the ACT says they are a private organization. We need REAL grading companies who settle the knowledge of students. Why should a 12 year old always be in the 6th grade? Shouldn't various students of various abilities be judged to their level by what the market needs? Shouldn't education be partially based on what will be required of the student if they were to enter the industry at a certain knowledge level?

To me, this feels like more teachers' union cronyism and preferential treatment to keep private industry out of the education system. What we need is more competition and less paternalism in this very-important market. Let us see what would happen when real competition creeps into the system -- not more regulation.

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (5, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820088)

The public education system in this country is pretty broken, I'll give you that.

But letting the "free market" handle it is suicide. You'd end up with multiple "tiers" of schools. Good schools for rich people, bad schools for poor people. Which is exactly how it is now, except that the poor people would be even WORSE off, because they'd be paying more, and wouldn't get any funding from the state to fix things, or any hope of changing the situation through elections.

Or are you one of those idealists that thinks that companies in the "education business" would actually give a shit about the schools in poor areas? Because they wouldn't. They'd run them as cheaply as possible, and simply raise the rates at the schools for rich people. Much better margins on the rich kids, you see. The schools for poor kids aren't where the money is at.

The "free market" isn't good at providing services for the public good, because what is good for the public is rarely good for the bottom-line.

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (2, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820126)

That's a pretty ridiculous concept, actually, considering that the free market of competition helps the poor more than it helps the rich.

For example, look at Jiffy Lube. Sure, everyone can probably change their oil themselves, but I get my oil changes for all my vehicles for $17.99 (with coupon) at Jiffy Lube. So do a lot of poor people. And what about Wal*Mart? They take back any returns without many questions, offer incredible price discounts, and pay their long-term employees well. What about the market for cheese? You can get exceptionally good and healthy cheese for a very low cost -- but there is expensive cheese for those who want it. Expensive cheese isn't limited to the wealthy, either.

If a school took advantage of the poor, another school who cares for the income would step up. With independent free market grading companies, you don't have to worry about your teachers -- as long as your student is passing independent testing, you know they're doing great. Also, it makes sense to have teachers who work without the huge bureaucracy of the public education system. Go to your township tomorrow, get a budget of the local education system, and divide it by teachers. Guess what? You'll probably come up with a 70% loss rate -- where'd the money go? To the bureaucrats! Free market education means that poor people might just want enough education to get their kids to a level where they can enter industry and hope to build a future for THEIR children -- they might also pick a school that sticks with the same basic education text books for a few years rather than replacing them every year with little-to-no difference.

You're losing more in your lifetime to public education (see property taxes) than you'd realize, and 70% of that money is going to bureaucrats to keep the system afloat.

Show me one truely competitive market that is bad to the poor -- I haven't found any in all my history of debating this debate.

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (4, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820238)

"If a school took advantage of the poor, another school who cares for the income would step up".

I didn't say that a privately-run school would "take advantage" of the poor. I said that they would spend as little as possible, since they would know that their customers couldn't pay very much.

Let's say you had a privately-run school in a poor area. They offer the absolute bare-minimum education, and their margins are very, very low. Eventually, they decide that they aren't making enough money, or possibly are even LOSING money, so they sell the school to a different company. What is that company going to do first? Cut costs in every way. They'd have to. Hire cheaper teachers, buy cheaper equipment, cut every corner. Eventually THAT company will probably give up.

What happens when no company wants to serve a given area with schools, because they can't really make a decent profit on it? Remember, a given corporation/investment group doesn't HAVE to start a school with their money. They can do whatever they want. Why would they invest millions into a school in a poor area if they could invest that same money in to some more profitable venture?

And you want me to show you one competitive market that is bad to the poor? You've never found any, you say? How about health insurance, or healthcare in general. There's a couple of free-markets that have screwed the poor. You really didn't think of those?

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (1)

reanjr (588767) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820426)

Healthcare is free market? It's regulated left and right by the government. That's not free market.

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (1)

tsq (768711) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820540)

So which of those regulations is specifically causing healthcare to screw the poor? Or will healthcare providers suddenly say "oh wow it's time to not screw the poor now" once gov't regulations are lifted, simply out of principle?

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16820634)

There's no such thing as a truly free market. Look at the before mentioned food market. Regulated from here to doomsday. I mean, how horrible is it that I can't scrape together a bunch of hemlock and nightshade and sell it as a salad mix.

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (4, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820446)

With independent free market grading companies, you don't have to worry about your teachers -- as long as your student is passing independent testing, you know they're doing great.

No, you'd know that they're being taught how to pass some third party standard which is probably going to make them corporate drones. The companies in turn don't give a damn since they're importing all their actual non-drone workers from asia and using visas to keep them in line.

Go to your township tomorrow, get a budget of the local education system, and divide it by teachers. Guess what? You'll probably come up with a 70% loss rate -- where'd the money go? To the bureaucrats!

Since we all know that facilities, supplies, non-teacher workers (janitors, security guards, etc.), field trips, after school programs don't cost anything.

they might also pick a school that sticks with the same basic education text books for a few years rather than replacing them every year with little-to-no difference.

Have you even GONE to a public school in the US or do you just pull all of this out of your ass? I mean, hell in my elementary school we used books from the 70s and 80s due to budget reasons, they only got new ones when the old ones became so inconsistent or plain old as to be unusable.

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (1, Interesting)

OmnipotentEntity (702752) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820528)

dada, do you really support a Wal*Mart for education? Honestly, the schools are broken, but there's better ways to fix the blasted thing than to completely abolish it and "let free market work its wonders."

Here's a clue. Wal*Mart can charge so little for two reasons: they are gigantic, and their product are crap.

For point one, the government is gigantic. For good or bad, they do have the infrustructure already in place to handle this shit. We aren't funding our schools enough. I mean for fuck's sake I don't have a degree and I make better money than most teachers, and I'm only 21. No one of skill will want to be a teacher unless it pays well, passion for the job only stretches so far.

And here's a news flash, making all schools private won't decrease the cost. I swear, what do you think there is left to cut? Instead, you'll have the overhead of: turning a profit, advertising, and appeasing parents. Remember, if you privatize the school system, it's no longer the children who are the customer, it's the parents. It's no longer about actually doing what's best for the child, it's about showing the parents you are doing what's best for the child, whether or not what's actually best for the child gets done.

For point two, sometimes you only need something crappy because you need it now, and you probably won't need it later. Education is not one of those things. What you're promoting with the privatization of schools, whether or not you realize it, is throwaway education. It's an education even more heavily geared towards passing standardized tests than we have currently, because the school's financial solvency depends upon it. And you know grade fraud will be more widespread than it is currently, because the school's financial solvency depends upon it. And what do you propose we do to fight it? Government Regulation?

In conclusion, dada, you're a hyper-conservative blowhard who has been listening to far too much Neil Borts, or Sean Hannity, or Rush Limbaugh, or whatever the hell you listen to, who probably still thinks the "Fair Tax" is a good idea, in spite of how rediculously broken it is. And you would do well to have an actual reevaluation of your stances after you figure out what the fuck is going on. kthxbai.

PS: Pays their employees well? You'd do well in a career in comedy at least.

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (5, Insightful)

Hebbinator (1001954) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820694)

No way. Not even close.

Public education programs like M2M in Georgia (majority to minority) give kids from downtown atlanta a chance to get a better public education in the 'burbs on the state's dime. Many of these kids are from low income families where education is not exactly an emphasis.

A lot of these kids who I graduated with were insistant on getting formal "college prep" education, and the schools downtown focus on "job prep" degrees.. in a free market, these students would have been lost in the ghetto forever.

As for "no truely competitive markets that are bad for the poor" - the only thing more ridiculous than liberal idealism is economic idealism. There is no such thing as a "truely competitive market," and if there was, the poor would be the last ones to be able to take advantage of it. Poor people are at the disadvantage of not being able to drive around like people with cars and BP cards, so shopping around isnt exactly an option. Maybe you've heard of the "food desert" theory of urban nutrition? People without vehicles have to go where they can walk or where the bus can take them. You would leave a lot of kids out in the cold - the whole American Dream(tm) where a kid from the most humble upbringing can get an education and a good job depends heavily on standardized public education.

Now, our public school system as a whole is very corrupted, but I think that the tenure system put in place by teachers unions is the root of the problem. Young, freshly educated teachers are put in the worst possible situations and have to spend years to get anywhere in the system, while old crotchety dinosaurs climb the ranks and get the raises merely because they have been there the longest... not exactly a good formula for growth and development, eh? Also, it leads to a lot of "I put my time in, I'm getting mine" behavior - there was a scandal around here with teachers 'retiring' and getting rehired immediately so that they could be drawing pensions AND getting paid their salaries.. its stealing, plain and simple. Taking twice the paycheck for doing the same amount of work, taking money away from the education system in the process. SOMETHING needs to change, but I don't feel like a Free Market system would be the right choice.

Im all for a free-market TEACHER system with standardized testing. Maybe try and adjust it with a baseline score to reflect improvement versus just raw scores to avoid punishing educators in less educated-oriented environments.. Give raises to the teachers who TEACH. Just make sure they dont take a dive for the pre-test...

This is all a ramble- its like 3am here and i've been studying medchem all day.. take from it what you will. Remember though, its like grandaddy said:

"if there was an easy answer, no one would have to argue about it, would they?"

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820490)

They'd run them as cheaply as possible, and simply raise the rates at the schools for rich people.
I doubt it. With the amount of money it takes to run a school, you'd be lucky to even see a school, poorly funded or not, in a poor area.

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16820132)

Shouldn't various students of various abilities be judged to their level by what the market needs?

Only if you're a fan of holding a kid to a metric that's going to change several times over their intellectual development. A competitor in a free market can be expected to do that, depending on product and consumer demands. But children already have enough conflicting demands to balance (school, sports, parents, peers, acne, college aspirations) that constantly adjusting their focus and historically revising their performance against today's market needs is likely to create a bunch of little meltdowns.

Frankly, schooling is in the mess it's in because of capitalism, not in spite of it. The whole system was made to churn out a bunch of passive factory workers, but sadly the market is shipping all the factory work to countries that work cheaper and have better schooling.

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820150)

Really? The U.S. has one of the worst public education systems in the world, but the college system is a competitive one in terms of choice, and we have a fairly exceptional one (short of the cost of college, which comes directly out of government funding which made the costs go way up).

Because you can pick your college, you can pick what you want/need/can afford.

Where exactly are you proving that public education comes out of capitalism? We have very few pure-capitalist markets in the U.S. because of cronyism and protectionism such as this subject. The ones we do (see: PCs, dial-up ISPs, ~cell phones, carpeting companies, clothes, etc, that go down in price over time even with inflation!) are extremely competitive and even the poor have access to all of what I listed.

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (1)

reanjr (588767) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820432)

Do some searches on Rockefeller and the educational system. You should come up with some enlightening info regarding where our modern school system comes from and what purposes it serves.

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (1)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820156)

I'm not sure that removing publicly funded schools is the answer either. Who would pay for the kids in poor areas where most parents can barely pay for rent and food, let alone education? Removing the public funds would take us back to an era where poor children had little or no education, couldn't read or write, and were destined for back breaking manual labor which they didn't even have the education/smarts to object to. The opportunities afforded these children by publicly funded schools are phenomenal when compared to having no education at all.

Also, from what I have heard and read, the teachers are NOT the ones grading this ... it is based on standardized test scores (e.g. achievement tests). If the teachers were doing the grading, I would certainly agree with you. Here's some more info on the program [talentedteachers.org] . They have similar programs in the DC and Philadelphia region where I live, supposedly based 100% on multiple choice computer read achievement tests (at least according to our local media). The only way they could really cheat is to whisper answers into the kids ears ... which I'm sure still happens, but on a limited basis.

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820176)

I'm not sure that removing publicly funded schools is the answer either. Who would pay for the kids in poor areas where most parents can barely pay for rent and food, let alone education? Removing the public funds would take us back to an era where poor children had little or no education, couldn't read or write, and were destined for back breaking manual labor which they didn't even have the education/smarts to object to. The opportunities afforded these children by publicly funded schools are phenomenal when compared to having no education at all.

I've been through this debate before, too many times.

The average household in the U.S. pays over 50% of its gross income to taxes at every level -- and rarely getting any equivalent return. The poor are especially affected by tax rate since they have few to no write-offs. We're not talking income taxes, here, which few of us actually pay in significant amount. We're talking about all the other taxes (including the portion of their rent which goes to the landlord's property taxes). If you earn only US$15,000 per year, you're likely paying over US$9,000 in all the various taxes (including your employer's ~8% FICA matches).

When the poor are so heavily taxes, the poor have fewer choices. We all could do more for ourselves if we were not taxed so heavily. Go back 30 years and the household tax rate was under 15%, and I believe under 8% a decade or two before that. Any wonder that both parents have to work today?

Give everyone back their hard-earned money, don't steal the additional 8% FICA and you'll see the poor in a competitive advantage to make better decisions. On top of that, the poor also pay their property tax portion for life just like we all do, which could total tens of thousands or more over their lifetimes -- enough to let them invest in their children's children.

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (4, Insightful)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820232)

Have you ever done taxes for someone who makes relatively little money? I do for quite a few, every year. They pay almost nothing in taxes. A friend of mine made $32,000 in 2005 (I'm actually looking at his tax return right now). He paid $1,400 in federal taxes, $400 in state taxes, and $2,400 in FICA. At the end of the year, he received back $5,000 (due to 100% refund of fed/state + child tax credit) - or $800 more than he paid. There's no possible way that he could afford his 2 children's education if we reduced his taxes any further, since they are already nothing.

Most families with children who make under 30 or 35K per year are in the same boat. If we eliminated property tax for landlords, this would amount to approximately $50-100 per month on an apartment valued at $50K. This would not solve the problem. And if we removed employer paid FICA, this would just kill Social Security and Medicare, which is all most of our poor population has to rely on after 65.

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820714)

Even if he's a single parent with 2 kids, 32k isn't "poor." "Tight" maybe.

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (2, Informative)

Copid (137416) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820550)

When the poor are so heavily taxes, the poor have fewer choices. We all could do more for ourselves if we were not taxed so heavily. Go back 30 years and the household tax rate was under 15%, and I believe under 8% a decade or two before that. Any wonder that both parents have to work today?
This is for the US? I would dearly love to see your sources on this. Mine indicate that before the 1980s, income tax rates were significantly higher at the higher ends of incomes, although I'd be interested in seeing data for the lower tax brackets. I know that the highest brackets had marginal tax rates of *well over* 50% for federal taxes alone.

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (1)

Sam Ritchie (842532) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820280)

Standardised testing is fantastic for ensuring that students are taught how to score well in standardised tests. I'm not going to opine on whether being highly skilled at taking standardised tests is in the students' best interests.

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (1)

Selanit (192811) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820222)

The parent wrote:

Shouldn't various students of various abilities be judged to their level by what the market needs? Shouldn't education be partially based on what will be required of the student if they were to enter the industry at a certain knowledge level?

It's an awfully good thing you chose to put the word "partially" in there. As I see it, education is supposed to produce people who can:

  1. Make reasonably informed decisions on a wide range of issues.
  2. Recognize when they're not sufficiently informed, and take steps to fix that (including finding information and assessing its relevance and reliability).
  3. Work in and do well at a variety of jobs.
  4. Acquire new skills when necessary.

So yes, the needs of the market need to be taken into consideration (see point 3). I'm not even marginally convinced that "the market" could or would want to promote the other three qualities. As far as I can tell, businesses like having a small number of active, engaged people, and a large number of sheep to support them. Businesses want people who will support the business, and if they controlled education, they'd promote that ideal at the expense of all others, including the ideal of an "informed citizen."

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (4, Interesting)

Anne Honime (828246) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820228)

This is unbelievable and one of the reasons I've always "lobbied" against public education where teachers are also graders. It is my firm belief that you don't grade your own work.

You've never taught, have you ? Grading is by far the most time consuming part of the job, and the most unpleasant. It's so f*cking boring that I'd have rather filtered raw sewage by hand than do it, sometimes. Why ? Because after reading 10 times the same half-learned, half out-of-ass statements, including blatant ripoffs of the immediate neighbours, you're completely fed up, and you know you've still got 30 to go. In my branch, one essay is roughly 15 minutes worth of my time, do the maths.

Teaching is pleasant ; I'd be more than happy to have someone else grade for me. But it's so damn exhausting that it takes a teacher dedication to do it. I can't count how many times I was offered money to grade some private inter-universities competitions between students (sort of extracurricular events to know who's pissing farther) and flatly turned them down. Nobody in his right mind would grade alone, even for money.

Competitive and universal schooling is hard (1)

KKlaus (1012919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820276)

What you suggest is a good idea with unfortuantely extremely difficult implementation given the requirement that schooling be universally free, available and of comparable quality. What happens when corporations decide not to run a school in your area because it wouldn't be profitable?

It seems like the government does a poor job, and to some extent it does, but if the government stepped out, or even some distance away, the school system would turn into the health care system pretty fast. Some couldn't get it, there would be widespread gouging, and the crap with bad standardized testing would only get worse when it was corporate bottom line involved.

The real solution is to provide vouchers to encourage kids to go to private schools, while still keeping the public schools around. Ideally, as more can afford private schools, their availability will increase, and as the state will have more money to teach fewer students (for some reason it is not common knowledge that vouchers save a great deal of money, but read up on them if you don't believe me), quality there will improve as well.

This is not a free market problem because of its requirements, but the free market can be used very effectively through a voucher program. So vote for it when it comes up on your county ballot!

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (1)

reanjr (588767) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820408)

If you were to run for board of education in my community, I would vote for you... I have long-held strong beliefs regarding the terrible educational system in the U.S.

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (1)

Squarewav (241189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820508)

I grew up as an army brat, and as such I've been to a lot of schools. Everything from military driven in overseas army stations to ghetto to upper class. The schools in upper class areas have almost always been better then the ones in ghetto areas (Better teachers, newer books).

One school I went to was both privatively funded and government funded as it was the only school in the county. Being that it was classified as a private school it was free to teach whatever it wanted and spend money on whatever. Since it was also government funded its only restriction was that it had to take everyone. How much you had to pay to go was based on how much money you had. If your family was at the poverty line you didn't have to pay anything. Now this sounds great in theory, in practice it was a different story. It was by far the worst school I've been to. Because the owners were trying to make money off it I got to see such wonderful things like the firing of 2 of the 3 science teachers in order to buy a new scoreboard and equipment for the sports teams. The text books ranged from 1972-1982 (this was in 1990). Our computer labs were made of original IBM XTs with 64k of ram, the books for the class were made for the old CP/M systems with the 8(?) inch floppy from the 70s.

All sorts of shady things went on, such wealthy students (i.e. people who paid more) getting higher grades regardless of how well they did in class. Jocks getting higher grades and kick-backs if they did well in the season (The school took sponsorships from nike and the like)

My point is that private industry, like it or not, are naturally more interested in making a profit then education. That's not to say government funded doesn't have its share of problems, but handing it over to people who want to make money isn't the solution

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16820584)

The Underground History of American Education [johntaylorgatto.com]

Read it.

Re:This is cronyism at its finest (1)

pseudorand (603231) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820640)

> If you're a programmer, do you get to grade your programming?

I'm all for separation of duties in programming, acconting, and teaching, but to answer your question, yes, programmers usually do "grade" their own programming. Obviously the dev does enough testing to get it working. I'd guess that most commercial software projects, do have a separate test team as part of their SDLC, as does some OSS, but a heck of a lot of it IS primarily tested by the dev, release, and then bugs are reported by end users through bugzilla or the like. What's more is that this seems to work well enough in many cases. Even automated regression testing probably doesn't get as good of coverage as the userbase. :)

IMO, a step towards improving our education (3, Insightful)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820028)

I for one, am a huge proponent of this type of approach. In almost any corporation in America, there are bonuses that are offered when someone performs well. Teachers (and many other Union jobs) don't have such performance bonuses in place. Why not? Sure, you have to worry a little about cheating, but I have to (maybe naively) believe that teachers will not be slipping students answers to achievement tests while school administrators are monitoring test taking progress. Plus, the statistical analyses referred to in the article should catch teachers that are this egregious.

We expect our teachers to put more and more hours in (most work tons of nights and weekend hours) for "the love of the children", and without any incremental pay. Shouldn't we reward them for their good work? Instead, we treat all teachers the same, and then provide tenure after 5 years (or so, depending on the school/state) that protects even the poor performing teachers. This is detrimental to our children, our future, and to our teachers.

The only problem I see with the program is that it only addresses at-risk schools. While school teachers in more affluent areas often get paid more (in my area, the difference is ~$15,000 between the wealthy and inner city school teachers), saying they shouldn't be compensated for good performance is like saying our "at risk" students matter more than everyone else. Rolling out the bonus program to all school districts could be a huge win for our education system.

Re:IMO, a step towards improving our education (1, Flamebait)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820058)

That's ridiculous. Do people in competitive jobs rate themselves and set their bonuses? No -- management does based on their additional value to the employer. You are only worth paying what you are worth earning -- including educators.

If you want to see teachers paid better, take a noose to publicly-funded education. In a competitive market, good teachers would get paid more for their value, bad teachers would get canned. In the public education system, all educators are basically treated equally and paid equally and are expected to do equally low tasks. It is yet another Statist program with almost no real oversight.

By the way, the teachers in my State (Illinois) are incredibly paid for the work they perform. They keep saying they're doing it for the children, but they're the first to picket when their pay doesn't meet what they expect.

Re:IMO, a step towards improving our education (1)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820120)

The teachers are NOT the ones grading this ... it is based on standardized test scores (e.g. achievement tests). If the teachers were doing the grading, I would certainly agree with you. Here's some more info [talentedteachers.org] . They have similar programs in the DC and Philadelphia region where I live, all based on multiple choice achievement tests (computer analyzed). The only way they could really cheat is to whisper answers into the kids ears ...

Re:IMO, a step towards improving our education (1)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820576)

A democracy (or democratic republic if you wish to be pedantic) only functions well when there is a reasonably educated and informed voting population. For that reason it is sensible to have a basic minimum standard of education provided to all comers - the health of the democracy depends upon it. There already is a private competitive market for education: they're called private schools (and home schooling). If you want more than the basic minimum level of education then you can pay for it (in money for private school, or in time for home schooling); no one is going to stop you - private schools and home schooling are perfectly legal. What you are bemoaning is that, despite these other options being readily available, most people opt for the basic education provided by the public system, which apparently rubs you the wrong way ideologically.

This is not to say, of course, that you can't complain about the current state of the US public education system: it is quite appalling. To be honest I would suggest that the US is teetering toward the point where the cracks in the democratic system are starting to show. If you could take off the ideological galsses for a moment, however, you might note that the poor quality of the US public education system is not intrinsically because it is a public system. There are plenty of publicly funded school systems around the world that are doing quite well indeed: Look at Finland, for instance, which finished first in recent surveys of high school students science and math skills worldwide [oecd.org] . Most of the other countries listed as doing well also have publicly funded school systems. Clearly there are other reasons why the US public system performs so poorly - perhaps you would be better served determining what the underlying causes are, rather than making pronouncements based on faith in ideology instead of actual evidence.

Re:IMO, a step towards improving our education (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16820166)

Well, you shouldn't have to worry about cheating. As a future educator, ethos (as it's called in education) is one of the biggest ideals in education. It's like the Hippocratic Oath for the medical professions. If you have good educators, teachers slipping students test scores will never be a problem.

But, you're right in that we work many night / weekend hours per week that we don't see any monatery bonus for. We get paid for the time we spend at the institution of education, not the work we do at home. We do have incremental pay, however, but it hinges on A) seniority in your school system and B) the qualifications of the individual teacher. An educator with a Master's degree in education will get paid more than an educator with a Bachelor's degree.

I think that bonuses like these will do good things for the educational system. If educators have an incentive to do their best - even though they should be doing there best in the first place - then you could see a rise in test scores. But, keep in mind that education depends upon three things. First, it depends upon the content being taught. If the content is ridiculously tough, then the kids won't want to put any effort forth to learn it. Secondly, the abilities of the educator are vital. Everyone has bad teachers in high school, whose class they detested for one reason or another. Kids with horrible teachers will not learn the content material. Thirdly, the will of the students is ... well, it's the deciding factor. If the kids don't want to learn, they won't. As an educator, it's your job to cover all of these. You must make the content understandable for kids of different comprehension levels, you must be enthusiastic about what you're doing, and you have to make it fun for the kids to learn.

If these conditions are not met, the quality of education will be compromised.

Money alone cannot fix educators who lack passion or kids who lack interest.

Re:IMO, a step towards improving our education (1)

Saikik (1018772) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820356)

I didn't RTFA nor do I know much about this but you said:

saying they shouldn't be compensated for good performance is like saying our "at risk" students matter more than everyone else.


Shouldn't we worry 'more' about 'at risk' students because they are 'at risk'.

I'm also assuming here that the 'at risk' you're quoting. Is short for people becoming useless to our society. Drop outs, single teen mothers and so forth.

Re:IMO, a step towards improving our education (1)

slizz (822222) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820450)

The public school system is broke. Trying to improve teaching quality by installing programs like this won't counter the fact that the education system in this country doesn't have enough money to pay its teachers, and pay for anything beyond basic school supplies. Honestly, education is possibly this country's most important institution, at least in the long term. To give the education system such a small portion of the national budget is shameful. Programs like this may have some effect - however, they merely sidestep the real issue.

Re:IMO, a step towards improving our education (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820468)

but I have to (maybe naively) believe that teachers will not be slipping students answers to achievement tests


Well, I hope they do, although not in the way you might think. It is called teaching. From the students point of view is is called learning

Re:IMO, a step towards improving our education (1)

m-wielgo (858054) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820722)

I would hope our public education is not "teaching" our students to "learn" to pass some test some who-knows-who-in-a-boardroom came up with. Schools should not be 9 month/yr brain dumps.

great, my degree means even less now (2, Insightful)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820038)

Great. just what i wanted, my grades and my work to mean even less. Thank you god for people who cheapen the entire system and ruin my credibility as a student.

Freakonomics & CPS (3, Informative)

phatvw (996438) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820254)

Levitt's Freakonomics [amazon.com] does a nice piece on these same Chicago public schools studies. Here is a discussion of Levitt's ideas [typepad.com]

What degree? (3, Insightful)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820448)

Your "degree" in elementary, or your "degree" in high school?

This has nothing to do with post-secondary education, which is still the only place you get a degree.

Why this is a corrupt and BAD ideas. (5, Insightful)

Archeopteryx (4648) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820040)

Chicago schools are nowhere near equal to one another. Some are fine. Others are worse than what you would imagine conditions are in third world countries.

My friend taught science and math in a Chicago school in a poor neighborhood.

In all the years he taught there; they NEVER had books, they NEVER had lab supplies, they SELDOM had working AV equipment, they NEVER had a computer.

Not that this effected the average grades, because any grade he assigned that was below a C was magically changed to a C by the principal.

How the fsck can you teach school without books?

I submit to you that basing his pay on the number of A's is corrupt in the extreme. (Though, thankfully, he is retired now.)

Re:Why this is a corrupt and BAD ideas. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16820138)

Indeed. My wife was posted in a Chi. school with Teach for America a few years back. They actually had physically separated area for the teachers in some classrooms - basically cages to keep the students separated from them.

Re:Why this is a corrupt and BAD ideas. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16820144)

"I submit to you that basing his pay on the number of A's is corrupt in the extreme."

Why do you think that's what they're doing? It seems more like they're paying bonuses for something like number of students with SAT scores over 1200. I.e. an *external* test, not a test created and graded by the teacher.

The cooking the books issue is about doing things like answering questions during the test.

Re:Why this is a corrupt and BAD ideas. (1)

Archeopteryx (4648) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820196)

You totally miss the point.

How do you suppose those children will score more than 400 on a 1200 point scale given those conditions of education.

Isn't going to happen whether you use teacher assigned A's or SAT assigned numbers.

Re:Why this is a corrupt and BAD ideas. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16820330)

So, kids in privileged neighbourhoods will have their teachers rewarded? Sounds like a sharp case of the rich getting richer.

This reminds me... (4, Funny)

feepness (543479) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820050)

...of the story where the clueless manager gave out $50 for each bug a programmer fixed.

Re:This reminds me... (1)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820136)

I'm gonna code me a new minivan this afternoon?

Where's Ratbert when I need him to do a little dance on my keyboard...? ;(

Re:This reminds me... (1)

Plaid Phantom (818438) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820482)

It's just as well. His dance only authors web browsers.

Re:This reminds me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16820710)

So that's what happened to Microsoft.

"testing irregularities" ??? (1)

chowdy (992689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820056)

"Not to worry, says Chicago's school chief, there are statistical analyses in place that spot testing irregularities" Jaime Escalante to the rescue!

Re:"testing irregularities" ??? (1)

Tatarize (682683) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820174)

Um, are these statistical analyzes magic? Can they determine the difference between a good teacher who taught to the test and an evil teacher who cheated? Oh, look this teachers student did better. Does that mean the teacher did well or does that mean the students cheated? Perhaps you could do something where you determine that every student got problem 3 right. Well, maybe problem three was just covered quite well by the teacher. What if they all get exactly 92% you flag it?

Seems a little spotty to me.

Re:"testing irregularities" ??? (1)

VMSBIGOT (933292) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820312)

There's a book called Freakonomics by Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner that has a very good explanation over this.

I lent the book to a friend, so I can't explain the principle very well, but i would highly recommend it. At the very least, you can easily get though a chapter while drinking a coffee at the local Barnes & Noble.

This worries me. (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820062)

In a scholastic world where quantitative performance metrics are the norm, I'm surprised that this hasn't started sooner. I do wonder about the effect it will have on students who are already being driven hard to succeed by their parents - it always used to be my (few, decent) teachers who gave me the love of the subject, rather than the impetuous to perform. I weep for the day when Mr. Carbunkle says "I'm sorry Jimmy, I'd love to teach you calculus because I know you're interested in it, and it's really neat, but if you don't regurgitate all these trig tables 100% correctly, I can't afford that new kidney."

Easier Exams On The Way (4, Interesting)

zefram cochrane (761180) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820076)

In theory this is a great idea, give bonuses to teachers that are doing their jobs well. However, in practice....I fear that we will only see exams getting easier and the children being taught less and less. We will see classes being taught to the children at the bottom of the bell curve rather than the middle...and instead of screwing up the gifted children's education....everyone will suffer. Isn't it bad enough that we are teaching classes to prepare the children for standardized tests, and then don't cover a lot of information that isn't on those tests just for the sake of raising test scores?

Re:Easier Exams On The Way (1)

krotkruton (967718) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820616)

However, in practice....I fear that we will only see exams getting easier and the children being taught less and less.

I don't think the exams will get easier since they are standardized tests (I did not RTFA, but the summary seems to say that). The teachers who stand to benefit from easier tests shouldn't be the ones creating the tests.

Do first things first! (4, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820100)

Nothing will be possible without instilling discipline in American schools. One only needs to visit schools even in the 3rd world to see how much discipline there is in schools over there. No wonder the products of those schools come over here and excel, leaving American kids behind!

What hurts me most is the fact that these kids excel at written English and write much better essays yet they have to learn the language in addition to their vernaculars. American kids, who [mostly] speak English from childhood have horrible English, so solve the discipline question then we can go from there.

Re:Do first things first! (1)

AHarrison (778175) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820198)

While I agree with you, I would like to point out that (high amounts) discipline is not always a good thing. Discipline requires structure, and often times structure ruins creativity. Many of the teachers and students I have met in college whom I believe you are referring to can ace a test with simple determination and discipline, but if I ask them about anything outside of their very narrow field, they just go blank. Even if I discuss it with them for a significant amount of time, they just can't contribute unless it is something you would read in a textbook. Reminds me of Good Will Hunting.

I would say it would take a lot of discipline in American schools to go that far in the other direction, though.

Re:Do first things first! (4, Interesting)

Mard (614649) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820216)

The reason there is no discipline in American schools is because we live in a nation where even if you skip classes and cheat on the exams, you'll get a job that pays enough to live comfortably. Most countries you would likely cite for discipline have actual competitive markets if you want a job that will keep you out of relative poverty. The solution is not simple, and would likely require a reform of our nation's entire education system. One idea that comes to mind is a two-tiered high school degree. One basic high school diploma, and one advanced high school diploma which is awarded to students to excel in standard courses or does average in advanced placement courses.

I have some experience which proves that Americans can learn discipline in school: here in Niceville Florida, some high school students are allowed to attend what is called a "collegiate high school." What this means is that they are taking college level courses with other high school and college students at Okaloosa Walton College. They are given high school credit AND college credit, and after two years taking a college work load they are given a high school diploma AND a two-year AA degree, which transfers 100% to any Florida university or college. Obviously this explanation is greatly simplified, but the system works and the students are far more disciplined than those at any high school I ever attended. Note that I'm just a college student at OWC, so I don't have much info on the college high school system, but I'm sure you could find more on their website: http://www.owcollegiatehigh.org/ [owcollegiatehigh.org] . I believe the system is funded by state taxes and the students pay absolutely nil, but they are dropped from the system if they do not maintain a reasonable GPA, and attendance is as strict as high school.

Re:Do first things first! (2, Insightful)

Ibag (101144) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820478)

I agree that fixing the discipline problem is probably the single most important thing that can be done in schools, but I don't think that it is something that can be done alone. You can't get kids to be disciplined about their work unless they either feel it is important or they feel there are consequences to doing poorly. This won't happen unless there is a dramatic shift in American culture. Parents need to be involved, teachers need to be competent, students need to stop viewing being knowledgeable as being uncool. Unfortunately, all these have to be addressed simultaneously. My guess is that it will take a decline of American hegemony followed by a surge in nationalism to get people to care about this stuff, but I hope I'm wrong.

Re:Do first things first! (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820568)

Nothing will be possible without instilling discipline in American schools.

Right... It's the kids' fault their biology teacher flunked out of medical school, and can just barely work up the motivation to stand up at the beginning of the class, and tell them what pages to read, and which questions to answer... BTW, that's not a made-up senario, either.

IMHO, and I speak from my own experience, the biggest of the problems is the lowest-common-denominator education. For the first 6 years, they teach you how to read and do basic math, every year, over and over again. For the next 6, it's basic algebra, basic history, basic science, repeated ad-nauseum.

Public schools are GREAT at teaching the slowest of the slow, the most basic of the basic. They are horrendous, however, at educating those who are remotely intelligent, and learn quickly... The latter (boredom) can be just as bad as course that go too fast.

Re:Do first things first! (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820574)

One only needs to visit schools even in the 3rd world to see how much discipline there is in schools over there.
It's funny you should mention that. I have a friend who went to Ghana to teach, as a volunteer, in a primary school. She said that the kids were very disciplined. They sat quietly, copied from textbooks in class, and read off the board in silence. However, they also had no courage or creativity. She couldn't for the life of her make them come up with any knowledge or ideas that they didn't specifically copy down in their notes. They also hated to be individual, or singled out. While they liked their "song and dance time", or whatever it was, they didn't like to be the one dancing. They preferred to stand in a circle, clapping to the beat for everyone else. I know that kids can be shy, but shyness was definitely overrepresented there.

She also said, in some weird equal and opposite reaction, the teachers were undisciplined. They would often abandon the children and go for picnics.

Adapt to the culture (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820636)

>They also hated to be individual, or singled out.

It wasn't Ghana, but I read one teacher's account of teaching students from a culture with a similar feature.

She split the class into small groups which would then pick a spokesperson to deliver their report or answer questions. The kids would freeze up if they felt alone but thrived as part of a team.

10$ (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820104)

To any teacher who upgrades this to First Post!

Re:10$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16820496)

No teacher will want to help a fucknut that puts the dollar sign after the number as they are obviously severly retarded.

Could Be Useful (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16820106)

Maybe the submitter wouldn't have put an apostrophe in "As" if his teacher had an incentive to teach him some grammar?

Re:Could Be Useful (2, Informative)

Nexus Seven (112882) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820390)

Actually, this is a perfectly acceptable use of an apostrophe.

There's an interesting response regarding this subject on Google Answers [google.com] . You'll even find a very pertinent example:
Regina received four A's on her report card.

Re:Could Be Useful (1)

rfunches (800928) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820472)

Maybe the submitter wouldn't have put an apostrophe in "As" if his teacher had an incentive to teach him some grammar?

A good jab at the submitter, but this usage of the apostrophe is actually correct [cuny.edu] in this situation, as it may not be clear from the headline itself that "As" is referring to multiple letter grades of "A."

The path of least resistance (1)

Mard (614649) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820154)

This is one of the worst "solutions" to solve our nation's education crisis that I've ever heard suggested, and to see it actually going into effect is more horrifying than the mere suggestion. When you create systems like this, with punishment or incentives hanging over the average person, that average person is going to find the simplest away around the system to get their carrot or avoid their spanking. This will not solve any problems, and may cause MORE problems if the material becomes watered down in an attempt to make tests easier and thus grades better. Perhaps that is the true purpose of this legislation: the further stupidification of our once-great nation.

Legislators need to begin asking these questions when they propose, vote, and pass new laws:
1) What is the SIMPLEST way to defeat the intent of the law?
2) Is this vulnerability worth the risk, or does the law's intent require it be solved before the bill is passed?
3) Does this law solve the problem I intend it to, and could it create any new problems that should be addressed before the bill is passed?

I could argue that there needs to be new legislation that educates legislatures on problem solving techniques. First IDENTIFY the problem, then discover relevant information to the problem, and finally devise SOLUTIONS. The problem in America is that the level of education aimed at those in standard (non-Advanced Placement) courses is specifically lowered to the level of the slowest person in the class. The ideal solution to solve this problem is to reward and penalize the STUDENTS. Grow some balls and hold students back if they do not put effort into learning the material, rather than slowing the entire school down to their lazy-fucking pace. At the same time, it's important you provide resources to support their extracurricular learning: tutors, additional reading and work material, extra class hours at the end of the day, incentives for a high GPA (it doesn't have to be money, one idea: I wonder how many people would work a little harder if it meant they get the last day of school off?)... This is not an easy problem to resolve, but for fucks sake it's not rocket science either. Find the people who want to learn, give them the opportunity... Find the people who don't, and bring them into the fold or kick them out of the system.

Excuse my randomly capitalized words, but I'm trying to convey passionate speech through a neutral text medium.

A quote from the article: "Similar ideas are used in the private sector all the time. 'In any other profession, when you do well, you get rewarded.'" UGH. OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM IS NOT A STOCK-HELD CORPORATION, THIS MINDSET IS WHAT HAS CAUSED THESE PROBLEMS TO BEGIN WITH. Corporations are expected to make results: profit, products, whatever. Education is supposed to raise the level of intelligence of a country, and socialize people so they are capable of surviving in our complex and modern world. The idea is to create as many intelligent students as possible, so society advances. Stop fucking the rest of us so your numbers look better, and start worrying about the future!

biZnat3h (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16820160)

These early Any pRarting shot, (I always bring my Sux0r status, *BSD

Freakonomics (2, Informative)

Lars83 (901821) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820168)

The chapter in Freakonomics about cheating teachers deals with this. If you have any interest in learning about how they detect such behavior, give the book a read.

Re:Freakonomics (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820394)

{ loaning parent some karma }

The chapter in Freakonomics about cheating teachers deals with this. If you have any interest in learning about how they detect such behavior, give the book a read.

Re:Freakonomics (1)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820674)

It also makes it clear that the tests could be defeated by anybody with statistical knowledge, and that in the long term they could be defeated by extensive collusion. My belief is that this approach will simply lead to a gradual slide in standards owing to the incentive to everybody in the system to cheat as a whole rather than individually.

There is only one answer, really. It is to treat teaching like any other career, and seek to recruit and promote the best by proper incentives. Such schemes already exist (Teach First in the UK, which was founded by the guy who introduced it in the US)

Disclaimer: one of my kids is on the scheme. But at least this allows me to say that he is getting the kind of training and support that would be expected from a corporate graduate development scheme, and that it shows.

If you give teachers in deprived areas the same attention and status that you would give to a new army officer, or a graduate trainee with Proctor & Gamble, you will attract the sort of people who will rise to the challenge.

Don't forget, good teachers are real wealth creators. If they were paid according to the value of the wealth they create, there would be no recruitment problems.

The real worry (1)

ezratrumpet (937206) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820190)

Score-related bonuses guarantee that teachers will "teach to the test."

This is a good thing if the test is a good one - meaning, if the test evaluates authentic skills in an authentic application.

The unfortunate reality: standardized tests are rarely (if ever) authentic assessments of student learning.

Re:The real worry (1)

TyrWanJo (1026462) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820542)

Teaching toward tests is a poor choice in any situation. The purpose of education is not only to teach students lessons, but also to engender the ability to think critically and creatively. Tests cannot possibly cover everything that might arise in a given situation - in english and literature classes, for example, the ability to think for oneself and not in a framework that allows only for an understanding based on what someone else understands, is a must. This really is emblematic of the problem with the current educational model. A test, and a grade even, can only give so much information about what someone has really learned, or how much they have really been taught. Some of the greatest minds barely made it through secondary school, let alone university. The devaluation of teachers is inherant in this scheme as well. Rather than showing teachers they are valued by paying them more (that they are paid very little is almost not worth noting) all this does is show teachers that thay are supposed to create more cogs for a machine - this is why many schools cut music and arts programs, and why in many cases, the humanities and liberal arts are undervalued and come with such a limp-wristed reputation. The belief that writers are born and scientists are made is wholly innacurate, as all absolutes tend to be. To be sure, it is a teachers responsibility to teach his or her students properly, but owing to the pittance they are given to do this job, those bonuses probably look like a dire necesity. This sceme only hurts teachers and students. Teachers are given the message that their lessons must somehow reflect the values that a governing body has with regards to education if they are to make enough money to survive. Students lose the benefit of having teachers that are not trying to mold them into the good little citezens the government is always trying to get people to be. This initiative is not one to help good teachers - good teachers cannot be bought, and it does not help students - how can they benefit if their teacher is just another soulless government agent, this initiative, rather, is social engineering at its very simplest and most insidious.

Statistics catches bad treatment of kids? (2, Interesting)

Anthony Boyd (242971) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820200)

Any fears that teachers might cook the books to score a typical $5,000 payoff? Not to worry, says Chicago's school chief, there are statistical analyses in place that spot testing irregularities, presumably better at catching Cheaters than those used in the past.

<sarcasm>
Yes, I'm sure their system will catch this stuff, too [bloomberg.com] . How? Magic, maybe.
</sarcasm>

Re:Statistics catches bad treatment of kids? (2, Interesting)

indraneil (1011639) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820378)

Actually I have no idea if the case that you pointed out is something that can be caught statistically (I would think not!)
However I read this interesting chapter from the book Freakonomics [bsx.ru] [PDF] where they identify the teachers who might be trying to fudge the system to make their students score better! Read the chapter called "What Do Schoolteachers and Sumo Wrestlers Have in Common?" to identify how the economist Levitt is identifying the people.
Having said that, I am not sure it helps doing this at all! Some professions like nursing and teaching are better off not being measured in terms of incentives. Some acts like blood donations are not even paid for in most countries. Incentives can only help trivialise these things. I do not mean that the people should be paid peanuts (infact they should be paid a lot more than they are paid - especially in India, where I have stayed for the most part of my life!).
However, creating a competition of who throws out patients from thier wards faster or who makes most students pass with higher grade will do serious damage to the patients and the students!
Somethings should be sacrosanct - education and human lives are two of them!

This is probably not wise. (2, Insightful)

KKlaus (1012919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820214)

Probably not a smart idea. Even at first glance, either 1) tests will not be standardized and all this will do will distort what constitutes an "A" or 2) tests will be standardized and this will create widespread "Teaching to the Test."

In scenario 1, this is bad because it creates an obvious incentive to grade very kindly. People can try to test for that influence to prevent it all they want, but if they create a market out of good grades, the market is going to react.

Scenario 2 doesn't fair much better, as anyone who has seen first hand the results of teachers teaching to, for example, the AP tests. Test scores will improve, knowledge will actually tend to decrease as original and creative thinking is discouraged in favor of simply being told the types of answers testers are looking for, rather than having to learn how to get there yourself. It's sort of the opposite of the Socratic teaching method.

If someone wanted to raise salaries to increase the size of the pool of teacher candidates, fine. But if a bonus is what's really changing someone's attitude, I think we all know greed isn't conducive to working with people well (and yes kids are people). Despite the flaws in our school system, I'm pretty sure I feel better knowing my kids teachers are there to educate because that's what they enjoy, and not there to try to get a certain set of letters or numbers associated with them so they get a bunch of cash, regardless of the actual amount of knowledge attained.

This isn't the solution. (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820244)

The power to tax is the power to destroy. When the federal government taxes people and gives it back to the states with strings attatched, it is destroying state sovereignty.

This only breads corruption. It is going to encourage educational institutions to cook the books, as the author says, in order to get money. The solution would be to give money with no strings attatched, in hopes that districts would be able to improve education (not just test scores) that way.

Block grants or vouchers would be the key. If a school has lower class sizes, perhaps under 20, this allows teachers more one on one time with students. Also, increasing the school day is another thing they should consider. There isn't enough time in math class, for example, to properly teach mathematics. This is a problem in colleges too, but that is another topic altogether.

Re:This isn't the solution. (1)

BA-ZING! (1026460) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820360)

Maybe a better solution would be giving tax breaks to the parents of children who perform well.

Re:This isn't the solution. (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820414)

Taxing the parents of "stupid" children is a bad idea. Why?

1. Parents beating children who don't do well.
2. Children cheating on tests.
3. Parents helping children cheat on tests.

Oh snap (1)

KKlaus (1012919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820288)

I give this idea a B. I guess someone won't be getting a raise!

Any sadistics majors out there? (1)

TempeTerra (83076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820322)

Honest question: how do you statistically tell the difference between the anomaly of a teacher cooking the grades, and the anomaly of a teacher raising crappy grades through effort and diligence?

Re:Any sadistics majors out there? (1)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820562)

You can major in sadistics? That sounds awesome. Off to start a petition to get that major here.

motivate the students (1)

janneH (720747) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820336)

It would be interesting to see what would happen if you gave that money to the students instead. $150 for a C, $200 for a B and $250 for an A? You can pay the teachers a million bucks, but if students aren't motivated or able it will not help. I am not sure I buy the assumption here that the teachers can be motivated to do a lot better with money. The teachers have to teach and the students have to learn, and I would be inclined to think that students not being motivated (or able due to circumstances aside from the teacher) to do the work to learn is a bigger contributor to poor test scores than inability or lack of motivation from the teachers.

Re:motivate the students (1)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820466)

There have been some studies paying the students for grades. There were some mixed results, but it did show a positive impact. Give them a weekly paycheck for their current GPA with half of it going into a savings account for higher education or an IRA. (Might as well solve the social security crisis while we are at it.)

Some people may call it bribery, but I call it getting paid to go to work a full day.

when will ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16820354)

parents take the responsibility? what if parents give monetary or other rewards to kids when they get an A on a test? take them to a movie; buy them a toy; give them little more freedom to watch TV; let them stay at cousins'; let them do things that they enjoy. a teacher can only do so much without student's interest. you can lead the horse to water but can't make him drink it. create the thirst and the horse will drink automagically.

Learn for tests, that's all you need it for. (2, Interesting)

gunny01 (1022579) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820370)

This is a really bad idea. It will only encourage teaching for the test. I think the whole school culture has to be changed. You should be teaching to learn, not for tests. You need to make school enjoyable, not a torture system where you are forced to peform or else your teacher goes hungry? This idea total ignores the fact that your whether you get an A or not in a 8th grade science test will most likely not affect the rest of your life. If teachers are putting pressure on kids to perform, it will make school less enjoyable.

Also, this whole system is flawed into thinking that every class has an equal potential for results. Sadly it isn't. The whole thing will be like a lottery, seeing which teachers get the smart kids rather than the less smart ones.

It takes more than money to fix the system.

supply the teachers (3, Interesting)

opencity (582224) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820392)

In NYC the Public Schools are broken. Teachers have to buy their own supplies. Mayor Bloomberg's (like the company, not the mayor) corporate management style has resulted in elementary school students being taught nothing except taking tests. I'm a private music teacher and I try to sneak some math in, especially for the younger kids. When I ask them about what they're learning in math or science they used to discuss it with me for a while (giving us both a break from scales and theory) - for the past year they just shrug and say 'studying to take the test.' The overpaid Bloomberg cronies at the Board of Ed actually spy on the teachers to make sure they aren't deviating from the 'lesson plan'.

Between the pharmaceutical companies and the bureaucrats kids today are being used as test subjects. I'm considering home schooling.

Teaching to the test (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820680)

is not *necessarily* bad.

The big problem the US has with education is that people haven't agreed on a problem statement.

If there's a standardized curriculum (which most industrialized countries have); if there's a core set of knowledge and skills that everyone thinks are indispensable for a citizen; if there's a standardized test that accurately measures those -- then the test is simply a necessary feedback mechanism and "teaching to the test" simply means concentrating on the basics.

Every one of those "if"s has whole books arguing the contrary, of course.

The Real Solution (5, Insightful)

kisanth88 (593283) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820470)

The only real solution to our American education system is to figure the average amount nationwide that all schools have for their budget.

Double that number and then increase all corporate american taxes to get an amount of money equal that doubled number. (Corporations benefit from well educated workers, so should be willing to pay to get them)

Then distribute this amount of money evenly to all schools nationwide based upon the number of students that were enlisted in the previous year. Beyond that the federal government should have no say other than that money should be spent by the school district it was allocated to ONLY. Let the states manage their educational systems. Increase this number and the tax amount by the previous year's inflation numbers published by the federal reserve and you have a well funded local educational system.

This has the dual effect of increasing nearly all school's budgets (and rich parents can still donate money in rich areas if they want an elite school) and at the same time reducing the dependence on local property values for school income (and theoretically reduce local taxes) This is Democratization of American Education.

And to the critics that say doubling the amount spent on average in American public schools - public education is the ONE thing that this nation can throw money "away" on or "spend money frivilously on".

John B

Re:The Real Solution (0, Troll)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820524)

The waste disposal and janitorial corporations derive fairly small benefits from a highly educated workforce. The number of PhDs on the company payroll is only slightly related to the company profit =\

Seen this before... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820494)

New Math 2.0 will be introduced so that 2 + 2 = 5 will earn a student a perfect grade every time. Remember that it's not about the student knowing what he or she needs to know, it's all about being number one in the stats!

Great Idea, but with one change (3, Insightful)

Heir Of The Mess (939658) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820500)

The teachers should get a bonus according to the amount that they have improved the student's level of education over the year that they spent with the teacher. You look at their grades for the year before they were with the teacher, and the grades for the year after, and the teacher gets a bonus according to the improvement. That way the teacher is making an investment in their own future by improving the student's education.

This elimates some of the cheating problem.

Teachers would have no control then (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820598)

The problem with that system is that education is not an exact science, teachers would realistically have no control over a student's grades. A student could do exceptionally well in middle school math, but that doesn't necessarily mean they'll do well in statistics. A grammar student wouldn't necessarily do well in literature. Chemistry, biology, physics, geology, astronomy (etc) are uncomparable yet they all fall under the catagory of "science."

Is it just me... (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820514)

...or does this sound a little like the communism vs. capitalism debate?

They're going the wrong way (2, Interesting)

davmoo (63521) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820538)

They've got it backwards. Instead of rewarding teachers for good grades, they should tax the parent(s) for poor grades. A teacher can only do so much, and they can't do a damned thing without the parent(s) taking an interest. Behind the majority of kids doing poorly in school is a parent that doesn't give a damn.

How about... (4, Insightful)

David_Shultz (750615) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820556)

How about... giving more money to all teachers and attracting better talent? It is obvious and uncontroversial that offering more money gets you more skilled people. However, for some reason, when it comes to education people ignore this fact. If you want to provide incentives to get better teaching, raise salaries! Offering a prize for performance is just an underhanded way of trying to save money on your incentives -you are giving all the teachers a lottery ticket instead of cash. Worse than that, it clearly encourages cheating.

Certification vs. Education (4, Insightful)

ookabooka (731013) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820582)

I love the way we are taking education these days. I am currently in college and I notice that the institution is not at all what I expected. No one goes because they want to learn more about their field and want to be educated about it, they go because it is a certification they can put on their resume, which will determine if they get hired or not, or determine if they make $35K a year or $75K a year. I don't even know who I am angry at, the managers of the corporations that use college degrees instead of work experience to determine a candidate's worth, or the universities that take in tuition and try to pump out degrees with little idea at whether the student is actually "educated" or if they just learned "how to replicate the process" for the test and then forgot the information the next day.
This applies here too. Essentially they are assessing worth by attaching a numerical value to "intelligence" or "education". Most of the time if you just went to these schools and sat down in the classes you would get a better idea than assigning some standardized test. Then again, the costs associated with that would be astronomical and end up taking away from what the schools have. . .I guess standardized testing is just the best solution at the moment.
I don't care what you mod me (if at all) this was just a stupid rant, I just wonder if its me or if others out there agree.

Economics (1)

Krolley (65102) | more than 7 years ago | (#16820672)

Interestingly, the same topic was covered in the book Freakanomics: A Rogue Economist Explore the Hidden Side of Everything [amazon.com] . One of the authors, Steven Levitt, developed some of the tools to find cheating teachers. One of the examples I from the book was to look for strings of correct answers that were statistically significant (where the teacher would have erased quite a few of a students answers, right or wrong, and put in all right answers).

It would be far better... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16820730)

to breed better students than spend all your time fussing over this educational strategey or that. There is only so much school can do. School is for learning things, i.e., aquiring knowledge; it does not make one smarter. Re bogaboga's post, why should we follow the third world's example? They are, after all, The Third World. I don't believe in aspiring to be poor. Also, the " products of those schools [who] come over here and excel" are likely well above average in their country of origin.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>