News of yesterday’s protest of “anti-education” legislation hit the press today. Participants wore red and marched. Grievances listed in the news articles (1, 2) include:
- A pilot voucher program. Choice is good. It brings costs down and lets the market, not dictators, stifle bad ideas.
- No pay raises for teachers. It wouldn’t be kind to make members of the general public, many of whom received no pay raise, support it.
- No bonus for teachers with advanced degrees. Bonuses should be based on student performance, not how many official pieces of paper a teacher can get.
- Termination of teacher tenure. Retention should be a function of productivity, not longevity. Note the new phrase for tenure is “job security rights for veteran teachers.”
- Insufficient support for teacher assistants. You know I’d rather see more kiddies with daddies at home to help build character. Unfortunately, I have no more power to make people get married than I do to make teachers effective – not that I’m into witchcraft, anyway.
The majority of “protesters” indicated they were there to support public education. That works in the outermost shell of awareness – capturing public opinion with sound bites, let the consequences follow. There is a body of research and commonsense that indicates the schools are failing kids. To support the status quo would be unkind. To take measures designed to incent improvement is the moral thing to do. Throwing money at problems does not work. But, hey. I’m a sucker for sloganeering and hot-button issues. Say you’ve got a nuclear bomb for “chi-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ldren, and I’ll melt like putty in your claws.