Education Reform, Not Rhetoric

28 Jul

Here’s a letter I sent to the NY Times,

David Leonhardt calls for school administrators to focus on paying good teachers more and firing bad ones. (“The Case for $320,000 Kindergarten Teachers,” July 27). I’m curious: Why doesn’t he directly promote a school voucher program?

Under a voucher system, parents decide where they want their children to go to school; they have obvious motives to find the best education for their children. Educators will want to provide a better education so that students don’t leave. Without actual pressure to perform better, demanding that school administrators be more watchful will do nothing. If parents are able to vote for teachers with their dollars, the task of sorting out the bad teachers from the good becomes much easier.

If we really want to give students a chance, we need to get over the rhetoric of finding “the right people for the job” and start changing the incentives that discourage people from doing a poor job in the first place.

Brent Butgereit

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