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LJWorld.com weblogs In Simple Words

Abdicating Responsibility

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http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2012/mar/should-teacher-larger-class-be-paid-more-teacher-s/

(I consider this to not be one of my usual rants, but an insightful analysis. Your opinions may vary)

Does anyone think that the suggestion in this poll has any merit whatsoever?

Using such a simple method for adjusting, or maybe even determining, teacher salaries is a symptom of the mentality that has come to dominate our dysfunctional culture. Although I suspect, or at least hope, that no one would consider making this the primary factor in determining a teacher's salary, it is just an extension of the common practice of trying to find measurable, and preferably "simple" metrics to free us from having to make difficult decisions.

We all know that decisions like this just aren't simple? Right? Just as in private industry, a supervisor or manager is usually responsibile for determining an employees performance and their worth to the business. This worth equates to the amount of money the company is willing to pay to retain them--at least in theory-- assuming competent management (not a safe assumption).

So why do we think that should be different in education? Because it might not always be fair? Because it could become political?

Guess what, that's life in the real world.

My contention is that our "leaders" most fervent desire is to find ways to avoid responsibility--to put everything they can on someone else. In essence, the goal seems to be to come up with a complex series of rules and policies so that the effort consists of evaluating the problem in the context of those rules and policies instead of looking at the actual facts and merits of the situation under consideration.

Why is it we have to make everything so hard...so complex?

We all know that there are many factors that affect how effective a teacher is, right?

Let's face it, some of our students come from backgrounds where they have tremendous disadvantages, and to expect a teacher to overcome those is criminally naive.

Let's not forget some of the some others. How many teachers have the support of their administration? How many times to they get the backing of their principal or district superintendent when their is a parent complaint? Some students just don't care, while others are motivated to learn on their own. It's a much larger and complex problem than I can do justice to here.

Is it just human nature to look for easy answers to difficult problems?

Has the time when we met challenges head on come to an end?

Are we unwilling to accept the possibility that it is possible for someone to make a decision with the best intentions, using all the information they have, and still have it turn out badly? I see enough decisions turn out badly (enough for hundreds of blog posts), that I'd be happy about a bad decisions, as long as it was acknowledged and the maker learned from it.

Heck, I have to admit I've made bad decisions. I know I leared from at least some of them. Maybe they should be the subject of another post.

Leaders are those people who make decisions and take responsibility. Maybe if we can find some, then everyone else won't really mind because it will just make it easier for the "shirkers" to avoid their responsibilities.

Comments

deec 2 years ago

"The buck stops here" seems to be a dead concept in our society. It is absolutely unfair and absurd to pay teachers by the head. Children are not cattle; they learn at different rates. Some need extra help, some are behaviorally challenged, some are done reading the assignment before the teacher has finished explaining it. A teacher with a class of gifted students might be able to handle the learning needs of twenty or thirty children, while the teacher with profoundly disturbed students may only be able to effectively teach eight or ten. How is it fair or just to pay the teacher with the "easier" students more money, simply because she/he has easier students to teach?

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