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National Education Association Forgets: Those Who Can’t, Teach July 25, 2007

Posted by federalist in Education, Unions.

Tom Shuford slams Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association (the public school teachers’ union), in a rejoinder to her recent letter in the WSJ in which she appeared to suggest that the NEA cares about something other than maximizing the power of its cartel for the benefit of unionized teachers.  Worth reading in full:

“When public officials want to reduce crime,” says Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association, “they listen to police officers. When they want to control flooding, they talk to engineers. . . .” (Letters, July 16). Implication: Want to improve education? Talk to the teachers union. A laughable proposition. Digest these data:

Applicants for graduate study in education administration — tested between July 1, 2001, and June 30, 2004 — had a combined mean total GRE (Graduate Record Examination) score of 950 (Verbal, 427; Math, 523). That is sixth from the bottom of 51 fields of graduate study tabulated by the Educational Testing Service.

The mean total GRE score across all fields was 1066. Which applicants had still lower total GRE scores than applicants in education administration? Social work, 896; early childhood, 913; student counseling, 928; home economics, 933; special education, 934 — education fields all. Other fields with mean GRE scores on the far left side of the GRE bell curve? Seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th from the left tip of the curve, respectively: public administration (“practices and roles of public bureaucracies”), 965; other education, 968; elementary education, 970; education evaluation and research, 985; other social science, 993. Note the pattern: Eighty-plus percent on the far-left-side-of-the-GRE-bell-curve are headed for — or, more likely, already employed by — public education systems. Ninety-plus percent are headed for some form of government employment. This GRE snapshot of the capabilities of the people who run government schooling monopolies is not unrelievedly bleak: There is one education “outlier,” secondary education, that has a mean score of 1063, in the middle of the bell curve distribution.


1. federalist - August 1, 2007

Stanton Brown gets in another blow today:

National Education Association President Reg Weaver’s July 16 letter (“NEA Wants to Work With the Candidates”) states that the NEA wants smaller class sizes and early childhood education. That means hiring more dues-paying teachers and staff. And — surprise! — they also want higher pay.

If a medical professional produces poor results, they can expect to be held accountable by credentialing committees, and possibly even expect to be sued for malpractice. Although one might argue that students can also suffer long-term harm as a result of poor results, when has an educator ever been sued? Moreover, doctors allow customer choice in service providers, which puts pressure on them to compete.

When Mr. Weaver announces support for vouchers for all students who want them and merit pay for teachers, he’ll begin to have credibility as a professional educator, rather than a union president.

2. Hamilton - August 2, 2007

Unions = enemies of reform.

I recall the very recent battles (complete with smear campaigns) in California waged against Governor Arnold by nurses and teachers unions. He was trying to reform a great many things in the state and the union’s mobilized their goons and spent their member’s dues to advertise against every single reform he had, even the ones that did not directly affect the unions.


3. federalist - February 22, 2009

Via School Board Transparency: Malcom Gladwell’s summary of the impact of teacher performance (not seniority!) on student achievement:

Eric Hanushek, an economist at Stanford, estimates that the students of a very bad teacher will learn, on average, half a year’s worth of material in one school year. The students in the class of a very good teacher will learn a year and a half’s worth of material. That difference amounts to a year’s worth of learning in a single year. Teacher effects dwarf school effects: your child is actually better off in a “bad” school with an excellent teacher than in an excellent school with a bad teacher.

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