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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Teachers and Butchers

Two free market protectors, John Stossel and Walter Williams take on the quality of teachers today in our government schools.

Stossel discusses the Byzantine employment structure of the NYC school system where it is impossible to fire incompetent teachers and "almost impossible" to fire admitted sexual predators. Such rules are defended as necessary to protect teachers against favoritism from principals. Stossel suggests:

But if schools and principals had to compete, good teachers would be protected by competition itself: If a principal's job depends on having good people working for him, he won't sacrifice it to give a favored incompetent a job he can't do.

Williams goes further in suggesting that there are lesser caliber employees in government teaching positions because they are lesser students than in many other majors.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (2001), students who select education as their major have the third-lowest SAT scores of 18 majors listed. When education majors graduate and take the LSAT for admission to law school, or the GRE for admittance to graduate school, they score lower than any other major.

And whether these test scores indicate competence on the job or not, we will never know as there is no firing incompetents in government schools.

When a college major often requires the use of colored magic markers, scissors and colored paper and limited or no scholarship in the subjects they teach after graduation, no wonder there is less competence in this trade than in others. If your butcher provides bad cuts of spoiled meat, you would not go back to him. All other businesses thrive or die on the profits and losses that are a direct result of consumer preferences. All but the government school system. If you were forced to only use that same butcher described above, do you think you would be buying better meats? No, you'd go veggie. But as respects government schooling, the vegetarian alternative (home-schooling) is not an economically viable one.

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