Pay teachers more is the headline of Nicholas Kristof’s latest New York Times column, but the “to be sure” graph “swallows the rest of the piece,” writes Mickey Kaus in the Daily Caller, mock-accusing Kristof of “teacher bashing.”
According to Kristof:
(Teachers’ unions) used their clout to gain job security more than pay, thus making the field safe for low achievers. Teaching work rules are often inflexible, benefits are generous relative to salaries, and it is difficult or impossible to dismiss teachers who are ineffective
. . . 47 percent of America’s kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers come from the bottom one-third of their college classes (as measured by SAT scores).
If unions do all those bad things, Kaus wonders, why does Kristof object to Wisconsin Republicans’ move to “emasculate” them? Does he secretly admire Gov. Walker?
Kristof denies he wants to throw money at the “low achievers” who are now teaching ineffectively. He claims the ”pay should be for performance, with more rigorous evaluation.” Good idea! But the teachers’ unions are the people who will fight that idea tooth and nail, and probably win. Again, it seems as if Kristof should back Gov. Walker.
BTW, Kristof is off base on the SAT issue. High school seniors who say they want to major in education earn below-average SAT scores, but that includes many who won’t earn a degree. Elementary teaching attracts some who love children but aren’t into academics. (Of course, not all elementary teachers fit the sweet-but-dim model.) Would-be secondary teachers who plan to major in English, history, science or math tend to have above-average SAT scores.