More Pay for More Work? Brilliant!

A recent study by a Roland G Fryer says paying teachers for higher test scores doesn’t raise test scores. I’m going to refrain from saying I told you so, and point to a different kind of incentive program that Fryer mentions for further study: paying teachers for time spent tutoring their students outside of  class. Roland G Fryer is a Harvard Professor of Economics, the director of EdLabs, and my budding intellectual crush. Still, I have to wonder why it has taken so long and required a man of such prestige for us to notice that more student/teacher interaction helps.

Money and Fear, Motivators You Can Trust

As we try to improve the educational system, we wrestle with the question of how to motivate students and teachers.  Looking to the legislation, it seems that our politicians believe in the power fear to incentivize people. Fear can only go so far, and at some point people push back.  Say hello to Wisconsin.

This country: founded on love of Washington’s dollar, or fear of his teeth? The debate rages on.

Perhaps now that a Harvard professor says we should actually pay the teachers more for what they already do we might get some positive movement in the legislative field. One of my Grad School teachers taught high school and our grad school class concurrently (the man is a saint). He tutored up to three children per morning, before his work day started.

Many good teachers who sacrifice a lot of their time to help students, but what is their motivation to do this? Some teachers have big hearts, and if we support their bigheartedness, they’ll be able to afford to spend time with their students.

Time is at a Premium

Many students require more interaction with the teacher, especially as class sizes keep rising. How can a student feel like their individual learning experience is important when a teacher has to get to 34 other students in a 50 minute class period? We need outside-of-class tutoring to give students the bare minimum amount of attention they need to learn.  If a teacher could leave at the end of the day while giving students the finger (metaphorically), why should they stay? They get no respect from parents, principals, and politicians. But if we pay them for longer workdays, we can get more than the bighearted teachers to help their students.

Future research will surely show that paying teachers for what good teachers already do will improve test scores, because at the end of the day it will improve teacher morale.  Higher morale for teachers will construct a caring and productive environment for students. If only teachers had, like, a union or something, this “pay-for-work” idea could have been implemented a long time ago.

Donny got a BA in English, which he thought meant badass, but then he got to the real world. Now he realizes it means bitter academic. Donny did a stint in grad school with a focus on education, which made him angry enough to start writing columns. While education is still his main focus, Donny now wants to apply his academic rigor to other mundane activities.