What About Productivity?

I try to avoid local news like the plague, but I did accidentally overhear this story on the local news here:

"There is a teacher shortage, what can be done?"

I will ignore the fact that the first half of this statement goes entirely unproven, and in fact no evidence that classes are not being taught is offered.  My question today is this:  Whenever the question of "teacher shortages" is discussed, why is only the salary portion of the equation ever put forward?  Why doesn't anyone ever put forward the solution "increase their productivity?"

  • joe

    They've already increased teacher productivity. They've been writing about growing class sizes for years.

  • CRC

    > They've already increased teacher productivity.
    > They've been writing about growing class sizes for years.

    This is quite true. Seen in this light, can one assume that calls for smaller class sizes are, in fact, calls for lower productivity?

  • Tribal Elder

    Shouldn't teacher productivity involve not only quantity advancing to the next year's classroom, but the students' academic progress ?

    If 20 students made 1 year of progress, 5 difficult students made 4 years progress and 40 students made one half year of progress, their respective teachers were similarly productive.

  • steep

    I guess if the new vouchers work like the news reports,
    the public schools will empty and the problem is solved.

  • tribal elder

    "I guess if the new vouchers work like the news reports, the public schools will empty and the problem is solved."

    I don't suspect public schools would empty, but I suspect that productivity - students effectively learning their subjects - would decrease further in the short run. Tenure and union contracts would hobble improvement in some districts -- less talented teachers with seniority would be retained differentially. Laid-off good teachers would find themselves in demand, and MIGHT be able to command more $ in an efficient, disciplined, parent-involved private school. (And, they'd stop worrying about guns in school.) They'd have more students/class, but, with parents voting with the voucher AND making up the difference out of their own pockets, if one student is unduly unruly, he'd be back in old PS 123 in a blink or two.

    In 1956, there were 62 first graders in my class. We all learned to read, probably 60 of us well, thanks to phonics AND discipline.

  • Young Daniel

    The problem with any potential solution pertaining to the national education system is that we are working within a faulty system to begin with. The public education system is based on two faulty ideas, modeling the school after the factory, and filling the child with knowledge as if he were an empty vessel.

    To ask teachers to be more productive within that model is akin to asking zoo keepers to be more productive in ensuring the panda's mate more often. In both cases you are imprisoning beings in unnatural environments and demanding the "wardens" be responsible for overcoming the psychological damage they are also in charge of inflicting.

    There are more "productive" models of education out there if the goal is to allow the development of fully independent self learning respectful adults, but that was not the goal of the education system when it was implemented. The goal was to homogenize our nation by forcing the influx of immigrants into a program that tried to guarantee a national culture that didn't disturb the status quo.

    Any concrete solutions will require an examination of our current system, but there is far too much money involved, let alone risk to the current status quo, for government to have any inclination in revamping or abolishing the "faulty" system. As far as their concerned it works just fine. Their children are going to private school's anyway.