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Our members are incompetent!

There was a nice little post yesterday at Daryl Cobranchi’s homeschooling blog:

A teacher’s union official has said that g-school teachers are incompetent. I’m sure she didn’t mean to but it is the only logical conclusion.

1. Teachers are underpaid (according to the union official)

2. “If you don’t pay competitive salaries, we’re never going to get competent teachers.”

Therefore, the current teachers must be incompetent. Q.E.D.

Cruel, but correct.

4 comments to Our members are incompetent!

  • George

    Ah. Paying incompetent teachers more makes them competent?

  • Mark

    My ex-wife would hate you for that bit of logic 🙂

    To be fair, the truth lies somewhere in between. It’s true that there’s a dearth of good public school teachers in part because of salaries (there are other reasons why people choose not to teach – the general lack of authority that teachers are granted these days in their dealings with students, for example). There do exist, however, some idealistic types who take up the profession anyway. I’d count my ex- in that category. She’s a good teacher and deserves the salary she receives and more.


  • Charles Copeland

    Interestingly, in his classic “In Pursuit of Happiness and Good Government”, Charles Murray, in the form of a thought experiment, gives the example of raising teachers’ salaries and introducing a merit-pay system with a view to attracting more competent staff as the way how NOT to do it – basically because a teacher’s productivity cannot be measured in the same way as the manufacture of widgets or hamburgers and, as Murray puts it (page 198) “[t]he more important consideration in the pursuit of happiness context is that many of the teacher’s job satisfactions are hindered by a merit system.” Besides, pay teachers too much and the wrong kind of people may apply: the augmented salary encourages “a mismatch between people and the jobs that will make them happy” (page 193). The argument is a complex one and Murray devotes almost all of Chapter 11 (‘Searching for Solutions that Work: Changing the Metaphor’) to the topic. A must-read for every dedicated teacher, though I admit that when I tried it on my sister and her husband (both Irish secondary school teachers) all I got was a guffaw.

    My own kids attend(ed) the European School in Luxembourg where teachers are paid double or triple their national salaries, and where there are thousands of applicants for every vacancy. But the teachers are, on the whole, crap – totally indifferent, “just in it for the money”, let the pupils watch yet another video during class hours, while they sit back and read ‘The New Statesman’ (or whatever). On the other hand, I myself was taught by Jesuit priests who didn’t get a penny for their work but were at least reasonably dedicated to their task and some of whom actually liked teaching snotty boys.

    Money isn’t everything – remember the yarn about the whitewashed fence in ‘Tom Sawyer’? Perhaps teachers should pay for the privilege of having a job that is its own reward ….

  • Joe

    I used to date a school teacher in a well funded, suburban school district – boy to they whinge!
    She worked roughly half the hours per year of most people here in dc, and after 3 years in the workforce made as much as i had as an architect with *eleven* years.
    And we were both doing better than the average Washingtonian with master’s degree – our level.

    But she and her gasbagging friends would still bleat that old, factless bromide about teachers being paid too little and overworked.

    They’re basically social-finance parasites.