I’m all for making teacher pay more of an incentive and lever – both by paying more and paying differently, for instance differentiating along more dimensions than just years of service and degrees. So I liked a lot in this recent NYT op-ed by Dave Eggers and Ninve Calegari, But while topical and catchy, the lede is overly romantic, obscures some issues, and doesn’t make a lot of sense. Since it’s fast becoming the new blueberry myth it’s worth discussing.
The point on shared accountability is certainly right but the description of how the military changes is not. After the Vietnam War the United States military took a serious and unsparing look at its fighting force. The Marines, in particular, made a number of changes. But all branches changed and as a nation we obviously went to an all-volunteer force. The result is the highly professional, effective, and lethal force you see today. There are some lessons there for public schools there (for instance how to differentiate roles, grow an effective and diverse leadership corps) but the fundamental one the military teaches us is that people matter a lot and there is not a lot to be gained from ducking the hard conversations about that.