Teachers valued most in China

Teachers aren’t valued highly in 21 countries in the Varkey GEMS Foundation’s Global Teacher Status Index. China ranks first in respect for teachers. The U.S. is about average. Israel is last. Except for China, high status for teachers doesn’t correlate with high academic performance. Greece and Turkey respect their teachers, but post low scores on international tests. The Japanese are low on teacher status, high in test scores.

Status isn’t linked to salaries. In Greece the status of teachers is high, but their compensation is low. In Germany and Switzerland, teacher earnings are relatively high, respect is low.

The Chinese compare teachers to doctors. Americans see teachers as similar to librarians. In most countries surveyed, teachers are equated with social workers. However, in France and Turkey, they’re seen as most like nurses.

teacher status findings

Pay-for-performance is supported strongly just about everywhere, notes John Merrow of Learning Matters TV. In the U.S., 80 percent said teachers should be “rewarded in pay according to their pupils’ results.”

While most people said teachers should be paid more, they didn’t know how much teachers earn. Americans think “teachers make about $36,000 a year but believe they should paid about $40,000,” writes Merrow. “However, the true average salary, the study says, is $46,000.”

Would you want your child to be a public school teacher? A third of Americans would “probably” or “definitely” encourage their child to become a teacher. That’s higher than in 14 other countries. Half of Chinese, but only 8 percent of Israelis, would urge their children to consider teaching. I always thought Finns were high on their teachers, but only 20 percent said they’d want their own kids to be one in this survey.

If there are any Finns — and Israelis — reading, does this ring true?

Israel: Lots of laureates, low scores

Israel produces lots of Nobel laureates and high-tech start-ups, but scores are low on international tests. Why can’t Israel fix its schools? asks Philissa Cramer, writing in The New Republic.

The national scores reflect “wide achievement gaps” with Jewish students outperforming Arabs and immigrants struggling to catch up to the native-born, she writes.  There are secular state schools, state religious schools ,  ultra-orthodox schools (sort of Jewish madrassas) and schools for Arab speakers.

Israel offers nearly universal preschool — 85 percent of children attend — but it doesn’t seem to help.  Children go on to schools with large classes and short days. Teachers are poorly educated teachers and very poorly paid. Discipline is a problem.

Israelis are starting to use test scores to improve instruction, but tests never are used to hold principals or teachers accountable for their students’ progress, Cramer writes.

Teaching citizenship is seen as more important than teaching academics, she adds.

Indeed, Israelis load onto their schools the varied and imposing duties of closing social gaps, assimilating immigrants, sustaining Zionist ideology, inculcating character traits, and inspiring students’ confidence. . . . suggesting, as Israeli educators often do, that it doesn’t matter whether students learn academic content, or what type they do learn, as long as they assimilate or are enthusiastic about the idea of learning would put most American educators far outside the mainstream.

Recently, Israel has raised teachers’ salaries and work hours.

South Koreans are studying the Talmud, which they call Light of Knowledge, because they figure Jews are smart and it’s a Jewish book, reports Israel National News.  Korea’s ambassador to Israel, Ma Young-Sam, told the “Culture Today” TV show that Talmud study is now a mandatory part of the country’s school curriculum.

 
Why? “We were very curious about the high academic achievements of the Jews,” Young-Sam explained, according to a Ynet report. “Jews have a high percentage of Nobel laureates in all fields – literature, science and economics. This is a remarkable achievement. We tried to understand: What is the secret of the Jewish people? How are they, more than other people, able to reach those impressive accomplishments? Why are Jews so intelligent? The conclusion we arrived at is that one of your secrets is that you study the Talmud… We believe that if we teach our children Talmud, they will also become geniuses. This is what stands behind the rationale of introducing Talmud study to our school curriculum.”
  
. . . He also praised the Talmud and the Jewish tradition it represents for its family values, respect for adults, and respect for education in general.

Korean students outperform Israelis — and most of the world — on international tests.

Unruly students are everywhere

You think the U.S. has problems with unruly students? I just got back from Turkey. Our guide in Istanbul was a former high school English teacher who said he quit because students are out of control.

Then, on a boat trip, I met a young woman who teaches physics at an Istanbul high school. She said her job is miserable because students are unmotivated and poorly behaved. She said private schools enforce discipline; in public schools, students know there are no consequences for cutting or disrupting class.

Israeli schools demand little of students, complains Nehemia Shtrasler in Haaretz.

Instead of forcing students to behave properly, we allow them to run wild and interfere in class in the name of “students’ rights.” They have turned into customers, and school teachers have become suppliers who are commanded to find favor with their customers.

All teaching is geared to the national tests, writes Shtrasler, and once students finish their exams in the spring, there’s no motivation to teach or learn.