How many of you have heard of the most recent controversy in PA?
The legislature passed a bill that would allow districts to fire teachers based on student student performance. The government vetoed the bill.
Proponents claim that the current law only permits districts to fire teachers based on last in/first out (or reverse seniority). Opponents say that length of service is highly correlated to teacher proficiency, and not protecting senior teachers leads to whimsical or financially driven layoffs.
Both sides focus on teachers. Teachers are the largest school-based factor in student learning.
But what if, instead of focusing on teachers, we focused on teaching?
The George W. Bush Institute points out that North America is seeing a slowdown in educational progress relative to the rest of the world. What do the countries with the most significant gains in student learning do?
- They target resources to the most disadvantaged schools
- They focus on improving the quality of teaching
Maybe we should focus on improving teaching, not on eliminating teachers. And at the same time, why not come up with a more equitable method for funding education?