A failure of institutions

Ta-Nehisi Coates bumps a comment from commenter Sorn into a full-post. It’s well worth the read. Sorn talks about his experience in the military, how it first gave him a sense of what was possible for him in the wider world – something that life prior to military service did not teach him.  His conclusion:…

First-hired, last-fired

Ezra Klein makes a good point about the ‘first-hired, last-fired’ rule governing most public school systems. In most unionized public-school systems, tenure and seniority are the primary considerations which are used to determine who gets laid off during periods of belt-tightening (that and whether the subject matter is ‘essential’ or not). Seniority often plays a…

Merit Pay, continued

Stepping back from the weeds of the merit pay debate, it’s kind of amazing to survey the arguments against compensating teachers based on performance and realize that this stuff literally wouldn’t fly in any other context. Can you imagine an entire industry deciding that its employees aren’t motivated by financial incentives and, as a result,…

Why not give merit pay a shot?

I confess I’m somewhat baffled by Dana Goldstein’s beef with merit pay: Forty years of psychological research demonstrates that when someone is faced with a complex, creative task — like teaching — money is an ineffective motivational tool, and may even delay progress. Professionals engaged in creative work are more likely to be motivated by…

Why Care about Affirmative Action?

Via Ta-Nehisi Coates comes this piece by Pat Buchanan that centers around the following allegation: Sotomayor got into Princeton, got her No. 1 ranking, was whisked into Yale Law School and made editor of the Yale Law Review — all because she was a Hispanic woman. And those two Ivy League institutions cheated more deserving…

Understanding Markets

E.D. thinks that market economics don’t apply to education.  Chris disagrees, but thinks that market economics ultimately are about controlling people and inevitably creates – specifically in the realm of education – a form of corporatism.  Chris also explains that this is why he is not a libertarian.  I.  FREE MARKET ECONOMICS ARE NOT ABOUT…

Poulos on Taylor on Re-Structured University Education

James Poulos points to this Mark C. Taylor op-ed in the NyTimes on ending the university as we know it. The core of Taylor’s counterproposal to the currently balkanized world of graduate education is the following: 1. Restructure the curriculum, beginning with graduate programs and proceeding as quickly as possible to undergraduate programs. The division-of-labor…

25 Best Blogs

Time has a story out today on the 25 best blogs (and 5 most over-rated blogs).  No huge surprise, Andrew Sullivan makes the cut.  Looks like some good stuff all around – something for everybody – maybe a blog or two you haven’t read yet…probably a lot you have (like TPM, and HuffPo etc.) Here’s…

the invisible heart

Yglesias highlights an interesting interview with Jeb Bush on Sweden’s education system, which in short utilizes all sorts of neat ideas like credit-based learning a la four year colleges, and voucher systems that allow for public and private cooperation.  Says Bush, “The idea that somehow Sweden would be the land of innovation, where private involvement…