Friday, November 23, 2007

Paying to get the job done

From Dr. Martin Kennedy's editorial in the 10/7/07 edition of the Tennessean:

When considering how best to improve educational outcomes, what we pay teachers is not nearly as important as how they are paid. In 19th century England, the treatment of prisoners became a matter of great concern. Too many were dying on voyages to penal labor camps. The clergy called it a scandal. Parliament questioned the morality of ship captains. Then came a small policy change. Instead of being compensated per trip for transporting prisoners, ship captains were to be paid according to how many live prisoners were delivered. Problem solved.

Teacher compensation should be driven more by merit, productivity, and less on the level of education and seniority.

Clergy have already called the outcomes for poor and minority students a scandal. Hopefully, we'll recognize the need to make the next step.

Martin frequently comments on MNPS at his blog. I encourage you to visit regularly.


Ned Williams said...

But is the task of not killing inmate/passengers comparable to the task of educating children?

Nashteach said...

No kidding. You chastise Erick Huth for a stretch of a metaphor and then you put this up for consideration? Your sense of what constitutes "offensive" is sure skewed- teachers "saving lives" of students is offensive and full of hubris; teachers transporting "prisoners" is an okay metaphor?

Kay Brooks said...

I think Martin's point is that the job isn't to get the ship (or the bodies) from point A to point B. We need to define the job as the children having arrived safely into adult life with a good education and we should be paying for that job successfully done.

No one is calling the students prisoners or teachers captains of prison ships in this example. The point is , again, ensuring we get the outcome we want (educated children) by more clearly defining the job description and what we're willing to pay for.