Excellence Without Equity Is Neither

Posted on November 11, 2011

Public school teachers are overpaid.

Speaking before a wound-up audience at an event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, prescription the conservative-leaning think tank that published the study, the researchers said that when wages, benefits, and job security are accounted for, public school teachers are compensated 52 percent more than their skills would garner in the private sector.

Jason Richwine, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, another conservative-leaning think tank, and co-author of the study, dismissed Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s claim that teachers are “desperately underpaid.” He contended that the standard regression method, which compares teachers to workers with equivalent education and finds that teachers are underpaid, is flawed because it doesn’t consider “unobservable ability.” People going into teaching have lower SAT and GRE scores than people who pursue other fields, he said. Thus, in the case of teachers, “years of education could be an overestimate of cognitive skills.” In addition, the education major itself is not as rigorous as other fields of study, Richwine said. When teachers and other workers are compared by cognitive ability, he added, “the wage penalty has essentially disappeared.”

The AEI study also shows that when teachers switched to non-teaching jobs in the private sector, their wages tended to decrease by 3 percent. Conversely, when non-teachers went into teaching, their wages went up slightly. According to Richwine, that amounts to evidence that teachers are not underpaid. “It’s at odds with the standard refrain that teachers are constantly tempted by the promise of higher pay in the private sector,” he said. “That’s certainly true for some teachers, but for the average teacher, it’s not true.”

Richwine also pointed out that public school teachers on average make more than private school teachers, which he said could be taken as an indication that the public sector could pay teachers less. To support the point, he later said the “experience of the private school teacher is similar in terms of working conditions” to the public school teacher—an assertion that received an audible gasp from the audience.

‘Questionable Research’?

Author: Francesca Duffy, Education Week

Read more HERE>
Face-to-face interaction has its benefits, sales medications but busy educators who want to ask advice, doctor offer opinions, medical and engage in deep discussions with colleagues are increasingly turning to professional learning networks—online communities that allow the sharing of lesson plans, teaching strategies, and student work, as well as collaboration across grade levels and departments.

“You get a chance to see what some of the best teachers in the field are doing, and you can do it on your own time at home,” said Kellie Viera, a reading teacher at the 2,330-student Manatee High School in Bradenton, Fla. “I used to stay in my comfort zone and only go to people in my department to find out what they were doing in the classroom, but now I interact with other content-area teachers I might not have contact with in other settings.”

As budget cuts continue to limit district-level training opportunities, PLNs take an organic, grassroots approach to professional development. Administrators and teachers say such networks reduce isolation, promote autonomy, and provide inspiration by offering access to support and information not only within the walls of a school but also around the globe.

‘They’re Catching Fire’

Author: Robin L. Flanigan, Education Week

Read more HERE>

 

There are many excellent public schools in the United States—schools that receive distinguished awards, click sale produce students with perfect ACT scores, ampoule mind and send their graduates to elite institutions of higher education. Yet within these same schools, you can find students experiencing none of these things firsthand, many of them students of color and from low-income families. I know this because I am the superintendent of just such a school, and my school is working hard to erase these divisions.

Through the years, educators and policymakers have used many means to address gaps in opportunity and achievement through programs designed to support students with lower achievement histories. Many efforts have spurred gains, but nowhere near enough. To genuinely address these issues, schools need to rethink everything they do to maintain and grow excellence while ensuring every student shares in that excellence. Excellence without equity is in fact neither and is no longer an option.

To ensure that every student—no exceptions—experiences and benefits from an excellent education, schools need to examine deeply and attend to three key areas of support, changing and growing in each area to meet the needs of all students: the school’s belief system, organizational structure, and instructional program.

Achieving excellence and equity for all students is possible. It requires an honest look at beliefs, structures, practices, and a willingness to do what it takes to make change. Schools should not be daunted and must begin immediately—there are too many students who cannot wait. We can act our way to new beliefs and start to make the structural and instructional changes necessary to achieve excellence and equity. To do anything less is educational malpractice.

Author: Eric Witherspoon, District Superintendent

Read more HERE>