Sunday, October 02, 2011

What if NFL Played by Unionized Teachers' Rules?

Spending per public school pupil almost tripled since 1970, while standardized test scores have remained flat.
"Imagine the National Football League in an alternate reality. Each player's salary is based on how long he's been in the league. It's about tenure, not talent. The same scale is used for every player, no matter whether he's an All-Pro quarterback or the last man on the roster. For every year a player's been in this NFL, he gets a bump in pay.  And if a player makes it through his third season, he can never be cut from the roster until he chooses to retire, except in the most extreme cases of misconduct. Let's face the truth about this alternate reality: The on-field product would steadily decline. Why bother playing harder or better and risk getting hurt?

No matter how much money was poured into the league, it wouldn't get better. In fact, in many ways the disincentive to play harder or to try to stand out would be even stronger with more money. Of course, a few wild-eyed reformers might suggest the whole system was broken and needed revamping to reward better results, but the players union would refuse to budge and then demonize the reform advocates: "They hate football. They hate the players. They hate the fans." The only thing that might get done would be building bigger, more expensive stadiums and installing more state-of-the-art technology. But that just wouldn't help.

If you haven't figured it out yet, the NFL in this alternate reality is the real -life American public education system. Teachers' salaries have no relation to whether teachers are actually good at their job—excellence isn't rewarded, and neither is extra effort. Pay is almost solely determined by how many years they've been teaching. That's it. After a teacher earns tenure, which is often essentially automatic, firing him or her becomes almost impossible, no matter how bad the performance might be. And if you criticize the system, you're demonized for hating teachers and not believing in our nation's children.  

Perhaps no other sector of American society so demonstrates the failure of government spending and interference. We've destroyed individual initiative, individual innovation and personal achievement, and marginalized anyone willing to point it out. As one of my coaches used to say, "You don't get vast results with half-vast efforts!"

Our rigid, top-down, union-dictated system isn't working. If results are the objective, then we need to loosen the reins, giving teachers the ability to fulfill their responsibilities to students to the best of their abilities, not to the letter of the union contract and federal standards." 

~Former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton writing in Monday's Wall Street Journal

30 Comments:

At 10/02/2011 8:15 PM, Blogger Bill said...

I have represented school districts and know first hand how hard it is to terminate a tenured teacher. However, I also think we've seen the quality of teachers decline because of the vast increase in opportunities for star students, especially women, in other professions over the past 40 years. Given the pay differentials and opportunities that did not exist 40 years ago, we just can't expect to get the same talent today in the classroom.

 
At 10/02/2011 8:46 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Given the pay differentials and opportunities that did not exist 40 years ago, we just can't expect to get the same talent today in the classroom.

I disagree. Given the fact that far more is known about how different teaching methods work I would expect much better talent today. The issue is not the talent pool or the opportunities in other ares. It is the stifling bureaucracy that tries to treat every child and every teacher as if they were a part of a homogeneous group and cares more about politics and power than it does about teaching children.

 
At 10/02/2011 8:51 PM, Blogger holeydonut said...

One problem with this analogy is that the NFL on-field performance is based on the effectiveness of a given individual and team as they compete against other players and teams.

But with teachers, there is not a good way to objectively measure their performance.

Teacher performance is usually measured by metrics aimed at their students. The results these students receive is related to teacher performance, but also suffers from numerous externalities beyond faculty control.

Teachers in lower-class neighborhoods with lower-quality students would be at a dis-advantage since a quality teacher could still have low standardized test scores and student proficiency.

Some neighborhoods near me have almost 80% students who don't even learn English as their first language. How do could we measure the teachers here effectively against affluent neighborhoods?

 
At 10/02/2011 10:07 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Still, everyone is pikers next to our US military.

In 1970, the base year chosen, US defense outlays were $94.7 billion. There were 3.5 million active duty US soldiers. We were spending about $27,000 per soldier.

In FY2011, we spent $964.8 billion for defense, and had 1.3 million active duty personnel, so we spent about $742,000 per active soldier.

In nominal terms, that is 27-fold increase per soldier. In real terms about a 500 percent increase. Is there any indication today's soldiers are five times as good as those of 1970?

I don't mind the constant right-wing echo-chamber sniveling about teachers or social welfare workers; indeed I agree with it. I think all public pensions should be banned, whether for school teachers or US soldiers.

I just wish someone besides Ron Paul or Eisenhower would speak to the parasitic, coprolitic federal bureaucracy over at the Pentagon.

BTW, we spend about $3,333 for every man woman and child for defense, homeland security and the VA, every year, and rising. That's about $13k every year for a family of four. Every year, and next year will be more.

The Heritage Foundation, btw, says we are underfunding defense. At $3,333 per every man, woman and child in the nation. At $13k per family of four.

 
At 10/02/2011 10:07 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

If schools ran by NFL rules, students would take home about 40% of the budget, based on performance.

 
At 10/02/2011 10:13 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Pay the students for performance. Pay the teachers a commission on what the students earn. Whatchamacallit how fast disadvantaged students can excel when they have the same shot at big bucks as the upper class kids.

 
At 10/02/2011 10:15 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

His did my speller interpret watch as watchamacallit?

 
At 10/03/2011 1:06 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"One problem with this analogy is that the NFL on-field performance is based on the effectiveness of a given individual and team as they compete against other players and teams"...

Normally I would agree with these sentiments from holeydounut but locally we have the zero and four Rams...

 
At 10/03/2011 5:23 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...

Nice try, but off the mark for trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

 
At 10/03/2011 5:57 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from holeydonut: "But with teachers, there is not a good way to objectively measure their performance."

Of course there's an objective way to measure teachers. It's the same way you measure your grocer, your mechanic, and your employer. It's call the market.

If a parent doesn't like a teacher, they hire a different one. If a teacher doesn't like a student, then they don't take the job teaching that student.

 
At 10/03/2011 7:40 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

"If a teacher doesn't like a student, then they don't take the job teaching that student.

In what world does that happen? In my world, you teach what is sent to you the best you can. Students can and do teacher shop, especially in college, but teachers cannot do the same.

 
At 10/03/2011 7:44 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Still, everyone is pikers next to our US military.

Really? From what I see it has had far more losses than wins.

In nominal terms, that is 27-fold increase per soldier. In real terms about a 500 percent increase. Is there any indication today's soldiers are five times as good as those of 1970?

No. But it costs money to have soldiers who do not fight much. Those drones, satellites, missiles, relays, etc., are very expensive.

I just wish someone besides Ron Paul or Eisenhower would speak to the parasitic, coprolitic federal bureaucracy over at the Pentagon.

Good luck on that front. Both the US left and right are very pro-war and pro-military.

 
At 10/03/2011 7:56 AM, Blogger cluemeister said...

Couple this stifling bureaucracy with the adamant anti-capitalist wall that is built and reinforced by the teachers' union.

Shut down vouchers, shut down choice. Demonize private schools.

Anyone remember Channel One?

 
At 10/03/2011 8:48 AM, Blogger Eric H said...

Fran forgot the fans (paying customers) in his analogy. They would all be forced to buy season tickets at the threat of having liens filed on their homes. If they spent additional money watching a more entertaining sport, they would be demonized by the players' union for "stealing" their concession stand and souvenir money.

 
At 10/03/2011 10:04 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"In what world does that happen? In my world, you teach what is sent to you the best you can. Students can and do teacher shop, especially in college, but teachers cannot do the same."

it happens in a world called vouchers.

parents and students pick schools and teachers.

teachers and schools have a veto. it's called expulsion or transition to an easier/special needs class.

schools can absolutely refuse to teach discipline cases or move disruptive/incapable students to other classes. many charter schools etc also have control over which students they accept in the first place.

i would agree that this power ought to be strengthened, but it does exist now.

 
At 10/03/2011 10:25 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from Walt G.: "In what world does that happen? In my world, you teach what is sent to you the best you can."

Because you live in the world of goverment monopoly education.

If there was a free market in education, you could turn away customers the same as any other private company.

 
At 10/03/2011 10:34 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

As an instructor, I don't pick my students at a private college. My job is to educate the students that are sent to me to the best of my ability with what I am given. I believe that is what most teachers do.

 
At 10/03/2011 10:41 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Really? From what I see it has had far more losses than wins." -- Vange

It's impossible for you to see anything with your head rammed so far up Noam Chomskys ass.

 
At 10/03/2011 10:41 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

morganovich,

I think you will find removing students from a classroom will be an administrative function even in a private/charter school. Teachers might have a little bit of say in the matter, but they will depend on staff/administration and parents to supply them with students ready, willing, and able to learn.

 
At 10/03/2011 11:12 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

“Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” -- Vladimir Lenin

The California Federation of Teachers thinks it’s important for kids to learn how to run a business. A “Labor Studies Curriculum for Elementary Schools,” entitled “The Yummy Pizza Company,” takes up to 20 classroom hours over a two-week period. Important concepts in the 10 lessons, such as the value of work and money management, are critical components, but are quickly overshadowed by the fact that 40% of the curriculum is about forming Pizza Makers Union Local 18. That’s right – the program is focused on teaching kids to unionize ... Art lessons are incorporated into the curriculum. Students are assigned the task of designing a union logo and membership cards. Math is also a focus. Part of the lesson involves calculating “union dues as a percentage of wages.” But the lesson doesn’t end with forming the union. What’s next? Contract negotiations, of course! Yes, elementary kids are then taught the finer points of collective bargaining. Members of the Pizza Makers Union may “vote to accept offer, negotiate further or strike.” The next lesson covers “Unions in the real world,” where “Students will learn about a real union and how it helped its members,” as well as “some labor history and a few prominent labor leaders." -- Big Government


The California Federation of Teachers produced ... “Trouble in the Hen House: A Puppet Show.” ... here’s the basic plot: a bunch of hens feel “oppressed” by the farmer, so they band together and create Hens United. The angry unionized chickens are too powerful a force for the farmer to handle, so he capitulates to the hens’ demands. ... the 2009 California Federation of Teachers convention, reported in the May 2009 newsletter of the San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers:

“…Bill Morgan uses a short puppet show, Trouble in the Hen House, to teach about the strength and value of organizing unions. His students act out a story about hens who organize a union to fight against unfair compensation and poor working conditions. Through this activity, the students learn about becoming activists, organizers, negotiators and problem solvers.”

... the “students” the newsletter is referring to are kindergartners and first graders. -- Big Government

It's time to declare public employee unions illegal.

 
At 10/03/2011 11:36 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Stop, with the "it's the kids, not the teachers" bullshit. There have been many successful charters catering exclusively to underprivileged kids from broken families and getting good results. So, we know that it can be done. The only thing preventing widespread adoption of their methods are the teachers unions and their leftist enablers. Here's just one example:

OAKLAND — Not many schools in California recruit teachers with language like this: "We are looking for hard working people who believe in free market capitalism. . . . Multicultural specialists, ultra liberal zealots and college-tainted oppression liberators need not apply."

School administrators take pride in their record of frequently firing teachers they consider to be underperforming. Unions are embraced with the same warmth accorded "self-esteem experts, panhandlers, drug dealers and those snapping turtles who refuse to put forth their best effort," to quote the school's website.

Students, almost all poor, wear uniforms and are subject to disciplinary procedures redolent of military school. One local school district official was horrified to learn that a girl was forced to clean the boys' restroom as punishment ... many Bay Area liberals have a hard time embracing an educational philosophy that proudly proclaims that it "does not preach or subscribe to the demagoguery of tolerance."

It would be easy to dismiss American Indian as one of the nuttier offshoots of the fast-growing charter school movement, which allows schools to receive public funding but operate outside of day-to-day district oversight. But the schools command attention for one very simple reason: By standard measures, they are among the very best in California.

The Academic Performance Index, the central measuring tool for California schools, rates schools on a scale from zero to 1,000, based on standardized test scores. The state target is an API of 800. The statewide average for middle and high schools is below 750. For schools with mostly low-income students, it is around 650.

The oldest of the American Indian schools, the middle school known simply as American Indian Public Charter School, has an API of 967. Its two siblings -- American Indian Public Charter School II (also a middle school) and American Indian Public High School -- are not far behind.

Among the thousands of public schools in California, only four middle schools and three high schools score higher. None of them serves mostly underprivileged children.

We've got to stop sacrificing our children on the altar of leftist social policy.

Still don't believe that the left has an agenda for your kids? Watch this: Union Teachers Explain How to Push Marxism in the Classroom

 
At 10/03/2011 11:36 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10/03/2011 11:44 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Eighty-eight percent of Harlem Success students are proficient in reading and 95% are proficient in math. Six nearby schools have an average of 31% and 39% proficiency in those subjects, respectively. More than 90% of Harlem Success fourth-graders scored at the highest level on New York State's most recent science tests, while only 43% of fourth-graders citywide did so. Harlem Success's black students outperformed white students at more than 700 schools across the state. Overall, the charter now performs at the same level as the gifted-and-talented schools in New York City, all of which have demanding admissions requirements. Harlem Success, by contrast, selects its students, mostly poor and minority, by random lottery. -- WSJ

Every child has the potential to learn regardless of their socioeconomic background. Yet millions of American kids are having the futures ruined by an educational system designed to promote the interests of the teachers unions and not the interests of the kids.

 
At 10/03/2011 1:24 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

If schools ran by NFL rules, students would take home about 40% of the budget, based on performance.

No. They would get a percentage of the revenue. And it would clearly be based on performance because there would be no such thing as job security for people who can't handle their jobs and can't compete.

 
At 10/03/2011 1:25 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Pay the students for performance. Pay the teachers a commission on what the students earn.

Why? Students will have earnings with or without their incompetent teachers. And they should not be 'paid' for performance. They should perform because it is in their interest to do so. If you want to have them become responsible stop paying those that do not perform by eliminating handouts for able bodied workers.

 
At 10/03/2011 1:33 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

If there was a free market in education, you could turn away customers the same as any other private company.

I do not believe that Walt can imagine a world in which schools and parents have choices. He lives in an command system.

 
At 10/03/2011 1:34 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

As an instructor, I don't pick my students at a private college. My job is to educate the students that are sent to me to the best of my ability with what I am given. I believe that is what most teachers do.

But you can kick out the students who are disruptive and do not want to learn.

 
At 10/03/2011 1:43 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Chomsky has nothing to do with anything. He is a hypocrite just as you are and is wrong about as often as you are.

The point is valid. Given the huge budgets the US military has underperformed. The last decent victory was against Japan and that took dropping an atomic bomb on civilians. Korea was a draw at best. Vietnam was a loss. Lebanon and Somalia were disasters. Afghanistan is looking like a huge waste of manpower and resources. Iraq is not looking too well unless the goal was to provide Iran with more influence in the region. Libya is still undecided but the US did a fine job leading from behind. The troops are pissed off and seem to have had enough. They are rejecting both the Commander in Chief and most of the wannabe Republican candidates who want to replace them. The person who has received the most donations from the people in the field is Ron Paul, who wants to end the foreign interventionism and end the budget destroying adventurism cheered on by the military-industrial complex.

 
At 10/03/2011 4:59 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

"But you can kick out the students who are disruptive and do not want to learn."

Or you can figure out a way to make them want to learn. If it were easy, anyone could do it.

 
At 10/04/2011 8:36 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Or you can figure out a way to make them want to learn. If it were easy, anyone could do it.

Of course you would try to help the student figure out that s/he might be interested in learning. But if that does not work and particular students make it harder for others to learn they can and should be sent out of the class.

But it is clear that whatever the public system is doing is not working. That is because it is a system in which those that can't teach are allowed to teach and those that can teach are prevented from doing what they must do by bureaucratic rules set by people far from the individual classrooms where those rules are supposed to be applied.

If the US wants a better education system the Department of Education needs to be eliminated. And parents must ensure that states/counties provide choice to them and the children rather than run a monopoly system that prevents competition.

 

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