for teachers, schools

School choice is good for teachers, writes Eduwonk.  In the best schools, “people, big people and small people, want to be there.”

To help teachers find a school that’s the right fit, “myEdmatch seeks to match teachers and schools OkCupid style.”

Teachers create a free online profile and search for open jobs at schools around the country based on an algorithm that calculates the best match. School administrators can look for teachers who are a good fit, “as well as check out a teacher’s virtual portfolio: a video of leading a class, sample lesson plans, and examples of student work).”

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  1. The results will be the same as it’s always been, and not surprising. The best teachers will end up at the best schools, and the worst teachers will get stuck with the worst schools. Why would the best teachers do otherwise? It’s not in their self interest.

    The only way to reverse this is to draft – force – the best teachers to teach at the worst schools. But then, what would that do to a teacher’s motivation to be one of the best teachers? It would destroy it. You’d have an epidemic of teachers sabotaging themselves out of fear of being sent by the government, against their will, to a school they don’t want to teach at. And what if they just threaten to quit and go find a new career? Would the government be able to *force* someone to do a job they don’t want to do anymore? For the children?

    • Why would the best, or even good, teachers do otherwise? To get paid more.

      Implicit in the launch of myEdMatch is that school survival will depend on having good teachers on staff. A school district can afford to be indifferent to the quality of the staff it hires but a school that exists due to its selection by parents can’t afford that luxury.

      Once parents decide the fate of schools, rather then elected officials and administrators, parental concerns become the factors that determine the continued existence of schools. Right near the top of that short list is “good teachers”. Schools that hire good teachers survive and those that don’t, don’t.

      That means poor schools evaporate. Either they figure out how to hire good teachers or they lose patronage to schools that have learned how to. Either way, parents, kids and *good* teachers win.

  2. lightly seasoned says:

    This is a pretty silly idea. Administrators are not out searching web sites for candidates — there’s a teacher glut right now. I can’t imagine too many new teachers are all that choosey right now, but if you don’t want to work at a school, don’t apply.

  3. Miller Smith says:

    Prince George’s County, MD tried moving the “best” teachers to bad schools and the “bad” teachers to “good” schools in the early 90s. When told they had no choice but to go to a bad school, the good teachers left for other surrounding systems en mass.

    The remaining good teachers that did accept the transfers became bad teachers in less than two years. Interestingly, the bad teachers who were moved to the good schools became good teachers just as quickly.

    To discount or even ignor the kinds of students, families, and neighborhoods a school draws its population from and the policies that hamstring teachers and admin alike, is to commit an act of the most extreme willful mendacity ever to be displayed in a debate of public policy.

    • Roger Sweeny says:

      Miller Smith,

      You tell a plausible story. I suspect it is true. But it won’t convince people who believe otherwise unless there are data or a “case study” or something that a person can look up and see evidence for your assertions. Do you know of anything like that?

    • I do so love this “blame the kids” excuse because it’s inherently damaging to the credibility of those who purvey the notion. Tell me Miller, will the poor parents with their kids in those lousy schools be impressed by your explanation? Will they shrug their shoulders and mumble “well, we’re poor, we don’t deserve better”?

      They’ll tell you to go get stuffed but the assumption implicit in the excuse is that poor parents are powerless. That assumption, as frantically necessary as it must be to defenders of the district system, is clearly not as true as it once was and getting less true all the time.

      By the way, the implication of “it’s the kids fault” is that any schmuck can be stuck in front of a class room with the results determined by the income of the parents. No need for any of those expensive teaching credentials – they’re irrelevant.

  4. From a private school administrator’s point of view, this could be a great way of finding teachers who share a similar world view and educational philosophy, which are harder to assess than teaching credentials and character.

  5. Forgot to mention that it’s also a way for potential candidates to self-filter themselves out of the running if they know they do not believe in the school’s mission, values, and educational philosophy.

  6. Miller Smith says:

    More than fair…2012 maryland report card as search term and go to each county and the city of Baltimore. On each page for each juristiction and each school In same you will find a wealth of data. It is stunning.

    You will find full ses data and very type of assessment -sat, hsa, and the like-and data on teacher qualificaions and their history of observations and evaluations. Maryland went
    Crazy collecting data. You can even download full and complete excel files and run your own statisical analyses.

    School quality tracks student ses to perfection. There is some veryvery interesting data. Charter schools that have the right to expel and reject students are doing so so so much better than the similar ses open enrollment schools who don’t have similar privedges. Teacher quality tracks eztremely weakly or vanishes completely.

    The most dishonest issue about this debate is that everyone that have investigated this data for just shy of a century know what even the most recent data show. And ALL senior policy makers and politicians have known as well.

    Why Play Along?

  7. Miller Smith says:

    That’s some serious projection. You make incredible straw men. Reactions like yours to truth is how the problems of lower quartile children never get addressed.

    Baltimore typically graduates students who are unemployable knowing that the children never met a grade level standard at any time in their 13 years matriculating through the public schools. This is One example of a policy that “hamstrings” teachers and admin.

    No extra money, time, or commitment for those ses kids. Let’s Pretend the problem is the horribleTeachers rather than the ses. Let’s bash teachers so we can save time and money avoiding how to make schools in their neighborhood safe, secure, and staffed sufficently to allow remediation at all levels. And let’s not do anything for the neighborhood violence problem either.

    Let’s keep the neighborhood a place where police react to violence and kids sleep in the apartment cast iron bathtub for protection from stray bullets. No one who gives a damn for those chIldren would let another day go by with gangtas selling on the the corner and crackheads writhing on the child’s doorstep without demanding the govenor put the Guard on every corner.

    No! Let’s blame the teachers.

    • Miller, if you’re a psychologist you’re a quack and if you’re not you’re just engaging in some name-calling. In either case lose the head-med jargon. It just marks you as someone whose response won’t stand up to scrutiny and, predictably, your response doesn’t.

      Baltimore graduates illiterates because the Baltimore school district can blithely continue on, failing to educate kids, with nary a consequence to consider.

      Now if you want to portray my comments as an assault on the noble teacher you feel free to do so but that’s just you clinging to a comforting falsehood. The quality of teachers in the public education system is a function of the structure of public education and that structure embodies neither a motivation to select good teachers from among candidates nor to expel bad teachers from among those previously hired.

      Locally there may excursions from the mean, a district here or there may make determined efforts to secure good teachers, but whatever local conditions created that situation will eventually dissipate and there’ll be an inevitable regression to the mean.

      If you’d like to view my perception of the indifference of the public education system to teaching skill as teacher bashing then enjoy your rationalization but it has nothing to do with what I write.

  8. Miller Smith says:

    You are well known for gettIng personal in any and every issue. Looking at your first response to me in this thread just couldn’t help but tell me to shove it.

    You and your ducks go off and quack each other.

  9. “Prince George’s County, MD tried moving the “best” teachers to bad schools and the “bad” teachers to “good” schools in the early 90s. When told they had no choice but to go to a bad school, the good teachers left for other surrounding systems en mass.”

    I don’t suppose the district paid more for good teachers to work the worst jobs? No, that would require a fight with the union…