All who taught before

Reading a Slate interview with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos on how success builds on the past, Miss Eyre opines that merit pay for teachers can’t be fair because “our success with our students is always cumulative.”

Pissed Off Teacher can’t teach calculus to students who haven’t mastered basic algebra; NYC Educator can’t teach newcomers to the United States how to speak English unless they can already communicate in some language. And when my students showed great improvement on the state ELA exam last year, I knew most of the credit had to go to their elementary and earlier middle school teachers. How could I have taught advanced essay writing skills to students who couldn’t read or write a simple sentence?

This is why merit pay, as most “reformers” imagine it, won’t work.

Believing that one teacher can make students do anything feeds the myth of the hero (or martyr) teacher, she writes.

About Joanne


  1. A response to the cumulative success of students might be state testing every year in core subjects. That of course will push educators even further toward test-prep curricula.

    Some of the folks I work with like the idea of incentive pay on a school-wide basis. This would mean the entire staff gets a bonus if they create an environment where students make large gains. That will, of course, lead to a lot of the same problems that incentive pay leads to on an individual teacher basis (schools haggling for the best students, etc.), but at least it will take a step toward the philosophy that it take a community to raise a child.

  2. You can measure how effective an individual teachers is if you pre and post test each child in the classroom.

  3. What a copout!

    In the workplace, the vast majority of us benefit from those who have toiled before us. If we were to use Miss Eyre’s logic, no individual employee would ever receive merit pay. I just don’t believe this type of collectivist thinking will lead to excellence in student achievement.

  4. Charles R. Williams says:

    Parents know which schools are good and which schools are not. Administrators know which teachers are good and which teachers are not. Teachers know which administrators are good, etc.

    We do not need elaborate methods of testing to verify what we already know or, for that matter, to obscure reality.

    What we lack is incentives and freedom to act on the knowledge we already have. The only party with a strong incentive to improve the schools is parents who are, for the most part, powerless to act on this incentive. School choice is the answer.

  5. This is the kind of nonsense that makes people disrespect teaching as a profession. Merit pay is always based on a value-added model, so PissedOffTeacher who can’t teach algebra completely, so long as he teaches his students something all year that’s improving their skills toward algebra, will still have great metrics. NYCEducator’s students will surely know more about literature at the end of the year than in the beginning, and since they knew so little to start her gains could be remarkable with just some progress.

    It’s amazing how many teachers will point to Taylor Mali when someone challenges their importance but scream they cannot make a difference when pay gets attached.

  6. I’ve never been able to understand why teaching is any different from any other profession. You have a boss. If that boss is worth a damn (and they aren’t always, of course, but that’s a different problem), they have a good idea of how well you’re doing your job. Those doing the best work get the best rewards.

    This model has been in use for some time now and seems to work pretty well.

  7. Amen to most of the comments above.

    Mr. Williams nails it. “Merit pay” for teachers will work only in a competitive market for education services. In the current system, which restricts parents’ options for the use of the taxpayers’ age 6-18 education subsidy to institutions staffed by dues-paying members of the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel, administrators will define “merit” to mean “system supporter”.

    Is this…
    (Nick James): “A response to the cumulative success of students might be state testing every year in core subjects”…
    …supposed to be an objection? I thought NCLB mandated annual testing. Several publishers sell, at reasonable price, tests of basic vocabulary and mathematical fluency which provide a rough measure of progress in language and Math.
    (Nick James): “…That of course will push educators even further toward test-prep curricula”…
    Test-prep curricula? Only if teachers are stupid and self-destructive. Years ago, when I worked for a tutorial service which catered mostly to immigrant Korean families, my boss gave me a Korean immigrant 3rd grader (he’d been in the US since age 3), with the instruction to prepare him for Punahou’s 4th grade entrance exam (Math and English). Eugene already read English fluently and likes science, so I gave him a subscription to Science News and my Scientific American magazines after I had read them. We worked on Set Theoretic notation and logical notation, then Arithmetic and Algebra. He got into Punahou (Barak Obama’s high school) in the same grade-level as the golfer Michelle Wie. Later my boss instructed me to prepare Eugene for the Scholastic Aptitude Test. If Eugene got over 1200 (old style) before age 13 he would qualify for the University of Chicago’s Center for Talented Youth summer program. We continued to work on Arithmetic and Algebra. He qualified.

    You could probably measure a Math teacher’s effectiveness by assessing her students performance on a test of English comprehension three years after taking her classes. You could probably measure an English teacher’s effectiveness with a test of basic Math, three years after they’d sat the class. Kill motivation for learning, generally, and you’re a bad teacher.

  8. Saying that I don’t want merit pay based on only a year of test scores is hardly a copout. What strikes me as much more of a copout is taking credit for hard work done by students, for which the foundation was laid by their previous teachers and parents. I am but a part, and a part of varying size and consequence, of my students’ success. I stand by that.

    You could certainly pre- and post-test students as a way to overcome that suggestion, and it might be one component of a valid merit-pay plan. But notice I say “might” and “one.” You can look at my own blog at and read through my other ideas on improving teacher evaluation. Using test scores is not among them, and why should it be? Plenty of noneducators are suggesting that. What I hope to offer, as a working educator in a public school with children of diverse needs and backgrounds, is a method for teacher evaluation consistent not only with reality in general, but with what I and my colleagues are already doing and what might be possible for us to do in the future.

  9. Value-added, whether assessed by means of standardized tests or some other method, works only if teachers are actually allowed to start where the children are. In too many schools, that’s not what is done; teachers are required to teach the grade-level curriculum regardless of whether the students have really mastered the previous levels. The example that’s being talked about lately in the blogosphere is how hard it is to backtrack to teach fractions in an Algebra 1 class, but how impossible it is for students to progress if they don’t have those skills.

  10. What might be more consistent with what Anon is suggesting is a post-test at the end of the school year, followed by a pre-test at the beginning of the school year to ascertain where students might be weak before diving into the grade-level curriculum. I already do something like this in social studies; since my students have consistently lacked a strong foundation in Amerian government, for example, I’ve started for the past two years with a unit on the Constitutional Convention, the branches of government, the Bill of Rights, voting, etc.

    Of course, that raises the problem of the age-grade relationship anyway. Witness the earlier example of the third-grade-aged child who, if I’m remembering Michelle Wie correctly, would have been ready for middle-school work. But we’re, or at least I’m, not here to solve that particular problem.

  11. It looks like the prerequisite for merit pay is for all students to be tested not less than annually and placed into classes which start from where they are academically, not where they were 3 years ago for the gifted or where they might be 3 years from now for the slow and/or mis-educated.

    In other words, the prerequisite for merit pay is the abolition of heterogeneous class placement.  Then teachers can be evaluated and rewarded based on what they add.

  12. Here’s a personal observation based on my own experience. I’d be interested to know if it has been researched, or if there’s a basis for it in the theoretical literature.

    The brightest students in my South Bronx 5th grade classroom tended to do quite well, with healthy growth on their math and ELA tests. If I’m candid, I would admit that I did very little with them. They received a very small percentage of my time and attention compared to the far greater number of underperformers in the class (the students that an AP pointedly told me “are not your problem”). Despite my lack of attention they flourished–at least based on their test scores (not a particularly satisfying metric for high achievement in my opinion). Why? Was I accidentally creating conditions that favored them? Were they naturally talented and made to look good by proficiency measures that crept lower every year (the one-eyed man in the land of the blind)? Or were they benefitting–was I benefitting–from the work of previous teachers, who delivered to my classroom students who were prepared to achieve (again, on the debased standards by which we judge achievement) under less than optimal conditions?

  13. Seems like a great deal of effort is being expended to try to obscure the self-evident fact that some teachers are better at teaching then other teachers.

    Inasmuch as it’s pretty hard to argue that there aren’t differing levels of professional skill the really interesting question is why anyone would want to expend this sort of effort both ignoring and obscuring that fact.

  14. Fun video from Dan Willingham on the deficiencies of merit pay for teachers. Even those that are value added.

  15. I don’t think anyone wants to ignore or obscure that fact, Allen. I think, though, that if salaries and careers are going to depend on a measure of quality, we want to make damn sure that that measure is valid and reliable. Test scores alone, which is what most VAMs out there look at, are often neither.

  16. I spent most of my career before I became a teacher allowing myself to be hired by people I wanted to work for, trusting their judgement and essentially allowing them to decide whether I was competent or not. To Miss Eyre’s point, I’d much prefer to do the same as a teacher rather that trust in the results of standardized tests, which are designed to assess children, not teachers. I’m not opposed to testing, mind you. Far from it. But you can’t have been a teacher for very long without becoming concerned about the deleterious impact it’s having on education–at least for the kinds of kids I worked with.

  17. Bill Leonard says:

    Miss Eyre, in my judgement you have a credibility problem because, for whatever reasons, you have placed yourself squarely in lockstep with the education establishment.

    That establishment — the union gang acting hand-in-glove with the administration crowd — has opposed every single suggestion of any sort for change or reform. Join that stance long enough, and you will have no credibility with anyone other than your coterie of cronies, no matter how well-meaning your position.

    You see, those of us out here in the taxpaying public can see what has happened and is happening to our public schools. And since large numbers of us have decades of experience in private industry, we know that merit pay can work — unless, of course, you are a union skate who loves the shop floor paradigm (and how can you logically be a “professional” in that environment?) and opposes every reform suggestion at every turn.

    As others have pointed out here, we know that regardless of who or what has come before, there are good teachers and bad teachers, and good schools and bad schools. And we know that teachers and administrators know it. What is the problem, really, with rewarding good teachers with merit pay, while ousting the bad ones? (There is also the matter of cultural issues surrounding far too many kids in school today, but that is another discussion.)


  18. The comparison to private industry may have limited validity at best. If Johnny spends all day welding plates of metal together, and when the whistle blows, he has done 100 welds compared to Bill’s 85 welds, maybe Johnny does deserve some sort of merit pay bonus.

    If Dr. Johnny gets paid based on how healthy his patients are, and half his patients are morbidly obese diabetic chain smokers, Dr. Johnny likely won’t be getting much of a merit pay bonus. Poor old Dr. Johnny’s merit pay is based on the behaviors of his patients that he can’t control. Meanwhile, Dr. Bill, with his all vegan patient population, is raking in the merit bucks.

    And when some of Mr. Johnny’s students fill in “B” every time and finish a 60 question standardized test in three minutes, well, just like Dr. Johnny, Mr. Johnny is not going to have such a warm fuzzy feeling about his pay being based on the test scores of his students.

  19. Well, Bill, if you’d read my other work, you might know that there are many innovations and reforms in education about which I am excited and curious to learn more.

    But if you’re asking me to commit myself fully to a system that might have brought great wealth to some, but has also brought shrinking real wages, massive outsourcing, widespread corruption, wanton destruction of the environment, casual abuse of low- and middle-aged workers, and a number of other sins with it, I’m sorry that I can’t stand fully behind what that system seems to want from me.

    I believe fully in being accountable to the people who pay my salary, but I also believe in having a conversation–and being a real and respected part of that conversation–about what “accountable” realistically can and should mean. Like Robert, I trust my colleagues and, I suppose, my administration to evaluate me fairly and fully. Not sure I can say the same about test scores.

  20. As a teacher, my union did little for me other than try to get me fired (but that too is another discussion). To suggest that taking issue with test-driven accountability makes one axiomatically in lockstep with the “education establishment” is a curious conclusion, Bill.

    More proof that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don’t.

  21. More proof that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don’t.

    But if we divide people into groups, that might involve tracking, and we wouldn’t want that…

  22. And thus we have the crux of the problem with public education in this country: the inability to walk a middle ground paved with common sense.

  23. If teachers’ compensation actually reflected their ability, as measured by their peers and bosses or however, instead of scripted via union rules, there would be no need for merit pay. The union salary pay scales restrict the compensation of good teachers. Do away with the union pay scales and there’d be no need for merit pay.

  24. Okay, Stacy. What do you propose in their place? That’s not a snarky question, it’s a real one. It’s also one that I, in my writing, have tried to answer in a meaningful, different, non-snarky way, so I’d be interested to hear your take.

  25. Miss Eyre, I think the answer to how teachers will be compensated in the future is going to spiral out of the control of teachers. The general public hates the unions and supports alternative education via charters, vouchers, virtual education, homeschooling and alternative certification. Most Americans are increasing cynical about the abilities of public education in its present form – Broader Bolder – you must be joking. That cynicism is an acid eating at the heart of your profession. The monopoly you now enjoy is going to be further eroded in the coming decade. You’ll become like those unionized steel mill workers or auto manufacturers of the ’70’s. Of course, those of you who are actually skilled will be just fine, probably better than fine. the private sector has absolutely no problem managing quality control and compensating accordingly.

    Discussing the relative benefits and difficulties of merit pay is a fine short term academic conversation. But you are the Roman Empire and the barbarians are at the gates. They intend to burn your house down.

    I’m a middle-aged NJ housewife, living in an affluent suburb of NYC, and I’m holding a torch.

  26. <<< But you are the Roman Empire and the barbarians are at the gates.

    Yes, that worked out quite well, didn't it? Dark Ages, anyone?

    That analogy is a nice metaphor with which to wrap up 2009, which has been an equally interesting and dispiriting year in ed reform. Having toiled in a lousy inner city school for years, I completely agree that anger and impatience is an appropriate, even necessary catalyst to change. The problem is, as the barbarians-with-torches metaphor implies, mobs tend to destroy first and ask questions later, if ever. You could make a case that's a good thing. I'm sure some would argue that we need to destroy public education in order to rebuild something of value on its ashes (the Dark Ages lasted about a thousand years, by the way, so be prepared to exercise some patience).

    I have to admit, however, that I have grave doubts about the current direction of education reform. I count myself as a strong charter school supporter. I certainly agree that teacher quality matters (although I see it as a half-a-loaf solution in the absence of a robust curriculum). I'm in favor of national standards, provided they're meaningful. And I'm all for accountability, as a teacher and a taxpayer. I don't even object to merit pay, even if it implies that teachers know how to do what works, but will only do so if you throw them a few more shekels.

    I've come to view each of these ideas and others as powerful cleaning agents, like ammonia and bleach. Combine them injudiciously, however, and you might create something noxious, even fatal. And that seems to be exactly what we're doing. In our anger and impatience, we're taking everything we can find under the kitchen sink and pouring it into a bucket, without reading the warning labels.

    As a teacher and as someone who cares deeply about education, I'm pretty clear on what I think students need to be successful. One of my particular areas of concern is curriculum. It seems obvious to me that the cumuluative effects of background knowledge, driven by a challenging, content-rich curriculum, help create good test scores. Note the use of the word "cumulative." If reading comprehension is a function of relevant background knowledge (and it is) it becomes difficult to draw a cause and effect line between what a teacher does and how a student preform, unless the reading test is comprised of test passages based on that year's curriculum, which is not how standardized tests are created right now.

    It seems equally obvious that merit pay and test-driven accountability do absolutely nothing to encourage the cumulative development of background knowledge that children need to succeed academically, and much to create negative incentives, i.e. aggressive test-prep, a focus on reading strategy instruction at the expense of content, etc. that push us in the wrong direction.

    The bottom line is that we all wish for simple solutions. There aren't any. Brandish torches if you must. But remember, they can create more heat than light.

  27. Michael E. Lopez, Esq. says:

    I have a proposal to put in place of the current compensation schedules!

    I’ve thought about a couple of different models for this, so these sort of come off the top of my head now. The one I’ve got in mind right now for HIGH SCHOOLS looks like this (numbers may be adjusted for regional CPI and other factors, including that they may be unrealistic. It’s the procedures, not the numbers, that really matter here.):

    Apprentice Instructor: $35,000

    2 year probationary period; apprentice may be let go at any time for any reason not prohibited by law; apprenticeship may be waived or reduced based on prior relevant experience, but not solely on the basis of degrees earned.

    Instructor Level 1: $45,000
    Instructor Level 2: $50,000
    Instructor Level 3: $55,000
    Instructor Level 4: $65,000
    Instructor Level 5: $75,000
    Instructor Level 6: $90,000
    Instructor Level 7: $100,000
    Instructor Level 8: $110,000
    Instructor Level 9: $120,000
    Instructor Level 10: $130,000

    Promotion to Instructor Level 1 is automatic upon expiration of probationary period, if any. Instructors may be hired at any level, subject to the distribution requirements below. Instructors become eligible for promotion to the next level after no less than 1 year in their current position. Promotion requires written recommendations from 3 non-apprentice colleagues, approval by departmental head, and is at the Principal’s sole discretion. Instructor-Level faculty can be fired immediately for cause, or be released with 1 year advanced notice for any reason not prohibited by law.

    DISTRIBUTION REQUIREMENT: The number of Instructors at any level MUST be LESS than the number of instructors at the three levels immediately below combined, EXCEPT for Instructor levels 1-3.

    Senior Instructor 1: $100,000
    Senior Instructor 2: $125,000
    Senior Instructor 3: $150,000
    Senior Instructor 4: $175,000

    Internal promotion to Senior Instructor requires no less than 5 years of total teaching experience, and may be made from any Instructor level except Instructor 1. Those to be promoted to Senior Instructor must be nominated or hired by the Principal, and have that nomination or hiring confirmed by a majority vote (secret ballot) of Senior Instructors at the school. Senior Instructor-Level faculty can be fired immediately for cause, or be released with 1 year advanced notice for any reason not prohibited by law, at the sole discretion of the principal. Senior Instructors are held directly responsible for the performance of those Instructors under their authority, if any. Senior Instructors may be reduced in grade to the Instructor Level they had originally if the Principal chooses, subject to a super-majority confirmation (2/3, 3/4, 5/8… pick a number) by the other Senior Instructors of the school. Senior Instructors assume the lowest level grade that gives them a pay raise over their prior Instructor grade. Senior Instructors may be promoted to the next grade at the discretion of the principal, but those seeking promotion must present two letters of recommendation from other Senior Instructor staff. Department heads, Assistant Principals, and interdisciplinary program directors (Special Ed, IB, certain magnet programs) must be Senior Instructors.

    DISTRIBUTION REQUIREMENT: The number of Senior Instructors at a school is limited on the basis of the total number of faculty at the school, according to the following schedule:
    5-20 faculty: 20% – round up
    21-70 faculty: 15% – round up
    71+ faculty: 10% – round up)

    Principal 1: $200,000
    Every Principal level after 1 increases compensation by $5,000; there are unlimited levels of Principal compensation.

    Principals are nominated by the school board, according to the board’s own procedures. Principals may be removed by the school board, or by a supermajority vote (again, pick a number) of all non-apprentice faculty, for any reason not prohibited by law. The reason for removing principals must be explicitly stated in the case of a vote of the faculty. Principals advance in compensation levels on a yearly basis, unless a unanimous vote of the Senior Faculty approves a freeze of principal compensation.

    It is expected that principals will, under this system, devise application and testing procedures as they see fit to help them in the exercise of their discretion. It is also expected that budgetary constraints will affect the frequency of promotions.

  28. Michael Lopez, it’s an interesting system but what pushes evaluation for anyone toward long-term beneficial education goals rather than short term political maneuvering?

    I certainly don’t claim that we’re driven by great goals with the present system, and I’d be willing to give almost any new system a try. But when you see how educational decisions are frequently made today, creating a system giving one principal more power but allowing his/her removal by vote of the board or faculty seems pretty ripe for abuse, particularly in the least functional, high turnover schools and districts.

    There’s also a little chicken or egg element to increased teacher pay and increased teacher quality that I’d like to see addressed. Your present starting salaries are pretty average but offer increases chance to make more fairly rapidly. Would the opportunity to make more increase the quality and efforts of people entering profession enough to offset the mediocre people or controversial employees that would have to be dismissed for there to be an overall increase (or perceived increase) in teacher quality? If it, as I suspect, would end up being a way just to keep paying the same folks who stayed in the good graces of the principals and colleagues more money, how does that improve education generally*?

    I guess what I’d like to see is a system like this but with some kind of objective student performance data added in to be some kind of check on cronyism and distribution of political spoils/punishment of political opponents.

    * how many teachers couldn’t get recommendations from three colleagues, their department chair, and their principal for a pay raise if it doesn’t “cost” the recommenders, department chair or principal anything and there was no objective measure attached, particularly if the principal who appoints the teachers and department chairs needs the teachers’ theoretical “votes”? What do the taxpayers get out of this again?

  29. Robert;

    “The bottom line is that we all wish for simple solutions. There aren’t any. Brandish torches if you must. But remember, they can create more heat than light.”

    One-size-fits-all public education is a simple solution to a complex problem. It’s time we’ve admitted that. I’m looking for solutions outside of the suffocating embrace of the “experts” who have little expertise, a whole lot of vested interest in maintaining the status quo, and very little credibility. And I’m not talking about individual teachers dedicated to their profession.

    To push the metaphore to incredulity: it’s impossible to burn the village to save the village if it already lays in ashes.

  30. I’ve never liked the one-size-fits-all approach. It doesn’t. Even within the same family, it often doesn’t. I’ve known many families with kids in diffferent schools; public, private, big, small, structured, unstructured etc. and in any combination. If the same school, or even the same kind of school, isn’t a good fit for kids in the same family, how can it be expected to fit all kids? That’s the problem with the current system and the system is the problem that prevents significant changes. It’s too late for reform; we need to shut it down and start over.

  31. Many of us probably feel tempted strongly to make suggestions of more or less detail for the improvement of the US pre-college education system (e.g., Michael Lopez’s comment). Some of these ideas may well work for some students or some schools. Although I would try some ideas on my students, and recommend some ideas for reforms at various institutional scale, I inevitably conclude with two thoughts:
    (1) To the extent that a disagreement over policy reflects a difference of taste, multiple local policy regimes of a competitive market in education services allows for the expression of varied tastes, while the struggle for control of a State-monopoly school system must inevitably create unhappy losers, and
    (2) to the extent that a dispute over policy reflects a matter of fact, where “What works?” is an empirical question, numerous local policy regimes (e.g., small school districts, independent charter schools) or a competitive market in instructional services will generate more information than will a State-monopoly school system. A State-monopoly enterprise is like an experiment with one treatment and no controls; a retarded experimental design.

    In abstract, the education business is a very unlikely candidate for State (government, generally) operation.

  32. Oh come on Miss Eyre, of course there’s a boat-load of obscuring and ignoring going on here. There’d have to be to take the edge off the implication of the question of teaching skill.

    I guess when you spend your entire professional life in an environment where the skill for which you were ostensibly hired is dealt with as if it’s immaterial the prospect of having to meet any skill standard has got to be unpleasant at least if not downright frightening. But it’s clear that the indifference of the public education system to teaching skill is under pressure and if that pressure doesn’t ease the public education system will have to change in some fundamental way so as to accommodate that pressure.

    As to your concerns about predetermining the validity and reliability of any measure of teaching skill, the only valid concern is whether it works better or worse then the current system. Since there is no current system of determining teaching skill it sets a rather low standard for any prospective measurement regime. All it’s got to be is better then nothing.

  33. Michael E. Lopez says:

    I continue to think that most teachers really want to do a good job, deep inside — that a plurality at least, perhaps a majority of them are actually capable of it — and that the barrel of education really is being spoiled by just a relatively few bad apples whose cynicism, selfishness, laziness, and ignorance are infectious.

    Any system or policy will necessarily rely on people to implement it. You CANNOT get rid of corruption and venality through policy and structural considerations. (See, e.g., the supposedly enumerated powers of the US Constitution and a case called Wickard v. Fillburn.)

    All you can do is pick the best people you can find for something, and give them (JUST) enough power to do their jobs while still retaining the power to get rid of them if they don’t live up to your expectations.

    Unfortunately, what we have in our current educational bureaucracy is exactly the opposite. NO ONE has enough power to actually do their job, and no one can get rid of anyone.

  34. (Lopez): “Any system or policy will necessarily rely on people to implement it. You CANNOT get rid of corruption and venality through policy and structural considerations. (See, e.g., the supposedly enumerated powers of the US Constitution and a case called Wickard v. Fillburn.) All you can do is pick the best people you can find for something, and give them (JUST) enough power to do their jobs while still retaining the power to get rid of them if they don’t live up to your expectations.”

    “Just enough power…” Amen, brother. I guess I should have added a third argument for Federalism (local control) and competitive markets:…

    3) Insiders have a stronger incentive to twist accountability mechanisms than outsiders, generally, have in keeping accountability mechanisms straight. Internal accountability mechanisms fail systematically. Economists call this “regulatory capture”. People resolve more disputes through neglect than through confrontation. If you get a badly prepared meal or poor service in a restaurant, you don’t scream at the chef or complain to management, or buy shares and influence restaurant operations “democratically”, you eat somewhere else next time out. The most effective accountability mechanism humans have yet devised is a policy which gives unhappy customers the power to take their business elsewhere.

    The problems with the US school system originate in compulsory funding (taxation), compulsory attendance, and policies which restrict parents’ options for the use of the taxpayers’ age 6-18 education subsidy to schools operated by dues-paying members of the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel.

    Albert Einstein
    Force and Fear Have No Place in Education
    “To me the worst thing seems to be for a school principally to work with methods of fear, force and artificial authority. Such treatment destroys the sound sentiments, the sincerity and self-confidence of the pupil. It produces the submissive subject. . . It is comparatively simple to keep the school free from this worst of all evils. Give into the power of the teacher the fewest possible coercive measures, so that the only source of the pupil’s respect for the teacher is the human and intellectual qualities of the latter.”


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