Fantasy Education

New game: Fantasy Education

Assemble a dream team. Compete against other schools. Recruit and draft teachers who have proven stats. Trounce the competition. Win the office pool.

Trouble is, there are no stats. Teacher’s unions hide them. The union pretends everyone bats .400 and all pitchers have an ERA of under 1.40. No one knows what teachers are stars. According to the union, they are all stars, all called Quality Educators. All got a $2,000 bonus because of this equality principle. None is better or worse. No one drops the ball. No one scores touchdowns more frequently. No teacher bats more runners in, or less. They are “all equal”. Their performance is “uniform”. No excellence can be perceived. Team Bland. No hard feelings because of comparison. No school boards pay star teachers $95,000, the mediocre $45,000 and the less-effective, $30,000. With stats, they could.

Oh sure, we have Teacher of the Year awards. Even these teachers gain no increase in pay, just honoraria, trips, accolades. Teachers can go through a rigorous process to become National Board Certified. In some school districts, that is worth $500-$1,500 per year pay increase. Even this means of honoring excellence does not use student performance. It uses tests, classroom observations by supervisors, videos of teaching sessions that are judged, and attendance at skill clinics and training. No parent approval scores, no student scores. If student scores are ever allowed to partially determine teacher pay, the union justification crumbles. Unions assume all are equal. It is an assumption contradicted by everyday observation in all other fields of human endeavor. Excellence acknowledged makes slackers look bad and they might get less pay. Unions protect the mediocre and listless at the expense of the stellar. No teacher makes 20% more than average. There apparently are no Lebrons or Michael Jordans in the classroom, inMontana.

We grade students. They all know who gets the best grades. We even grade schools. is a fine site for this purpose. But teachers are never graded. The student scores are never linked to a teacher. It would be a simple matter of testing kids coming into a classroom and their level of improvement at the end of 9 months and posting that for each teacher. That’s stats! Then we could play Fantasy Education!

In Los Angeles, early attempts to distinguish excellence are valuable.


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