Hunt on Teaching

Former Democratic North Carolina Governor and Hunt Institute founder James Hunt has a very important must-read commentary in the current Education Week. [Reg. required but worth it]

Hunt echoes many of the recommendations of the recent Teaching Commission report, but a few lines jump out as particularly significant in the evolution of this debate.

He uses the dreaded pay-for-performance line:

We need a new pay-for-performance system of compensation based on student achievement and expertise. We need a system that rewards teachers who mentor others, or teach in difficult schools or in shortage specialties such as math or science, and we need a system that recognizes the less concrete, measurable determinants that affect teaching, such as collaboration and classroom reality.

He does not have kind words for education schools:

Higher education leaders must share responsibility for improving public education. They have allowed our colleges of education to become sleepy backwaters on university campuses. The contrast between our nation’s rigorous and academically challenging colleges of medicine and engineering and our colleges of education could not be more striking.

He says that a “steps and lanes” compensation system is archaic:

Lockstep salary schemes based on time in the classroom and level of education simply can’t compete when measured against today’s many career options.

And, he cites as authoritative favorite liberal villain economist Eric Hanushek! That alone is enough to get you thrown out of a lot of rooms…

Why does this matter? Because it’s a good essay for starters, but also because Hunt is a credible and moderate voice on this issue with a record of accomplishments on education. A lot in here that is important on several levels.

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