Key and Peele’s Teaching Center, a spoof of ESPN’s Sports Center, has been a huge hit with teachers, writes James Shuls on Jay Greene’s blog. But here’s What Really Prevents Us from Treating Teachers Like Professional Athletes, he writes. “Most of the things being celebrated in Teaching Center are often opposed by teachers themselves.”
For starters, Teaching Center continually focuses on test scores from standardized assessments. The ticker at the bottom of the screen shows ACT, SAT, and other test scores for schools. The number one teacher taken in the high school draft is chosen by the school with the “worst test scores last semester.” This hyper-focus on test scores (and competition in general) is anathema to most teachers. Indeed, teachers routinely oppose standardized testing.
. . . The problem is that teachers’ unions resist almost any effort to differentiate between good and bad teachers. The fact is some teachers are better than others, whether we measure that by a test score or by some other metric. If we cannot differentiate between these teachers, then the Ruby Ruhf’s of the world will never get their $40 million in bonus pay.
If pro athletes were paid like teachers, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rogers would earn the same as Cincinnati Bengal kicker Mike Nugent because they were drafted in the same year, writes Shuls.
Teachers won’t get “million-dollar contracts, but the best ones – the ones that significantly improve student achievement and make a lasting impact on students – could easily garner six- figure salaries,” writes Shuls, who is an assistant professor of educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. “Now, we just need to get teachers on board with this.”
There’s no tenure in pro sports, adds Larry Sand. Fumble too often and you’re out of a job.
In South Korea, “rock-star teacher” Kim Ki-hoon earns $4 million a year, reported Amanda Ripley in the Wall Street Journal in 2013.
He works in a private tutoring academy about 60 hours a week. He lectures for three hours a week, records his classes on video and sells them online for $4 an hour. “He spends most of his week responding to students’ online requests for help, developing lesson plans and writing accompanying textbooks and accompanying textbooks and workbooks (some 200 to date),” wrote Ripley.
“The harder I work, the more I make,” he told Ripley. “I like that.”