Even supporters of the proposed change agree that comparability would not alone be enough to achieve the goal of improving the level of teaching at schools for the poorest children. “It’s probably the right thing to do to equalize the distribution of resources” across the board, said Barnett Berry, the president of the Center for Teaching Quality, in Hillsborough, N.C.
But, he went on in a recent e-mail, the additional dollars would be “insufficient to attract more qualified teachers to high-priority schools, and then there are the critical issues of school leadership, class size, facilities and resources, and the sound professional development needed to address the maldistribution of well-prepared and supported teachers.”
That’s exactly right. For starters there is a substantial enforcement question here, and the track record on enforcement of items like this is pretty poor. In addition, this change is necessary but not sufficient, by itself it won’t solve the problem. But it does lay the groundwork for a variety of other incentives to address it. And it’s worth noting that in the Keller story no one brings substantive evidence to the table that this change would be bad for kids, particularly poor kids, it’s all about how it infringes on turf or could be bad for adult rights (or, gasp, how this might force states and school districts to spend more money on schools, which in any other circumstance would be considered a good thing, but in this context seems to again pale compared to the risks of actual reform).