Friday, October 15, 2010

Education quotes of the day

The fact that we view teaching as a profession that anyone can enter without regard for how they performed as a student [is a major impediment to improving American schools]. It’s easier to get into ed. school in the U.S. than it is to qualify to play college football [note that most college sports programs require a minimum grade point average and SAT score, while some teacher-preparation programs do not].--Kate Walsh

In a new report, “Closing the Talent Gap: Attracting and Retaining Top-Third Graduates to Careers in Teaching ,” we review the experiences of the top-performing systems in the world—Singapore, Finland, and South Korea. These countries recruit, develop, and retain the leading academic talent as one of their central education strategies, and they have achieved extraordinary results. In the United States, by contrast, only 23 percent of new teachers come from the top third, and just 14 percent in high poverty schools, where the difficulty of attracting and retaining talented teachers is particularly acute.--McKinsey

Academia, like markets and government, is an incentive system in which most of the time agents act in accordance with their incentives. Thus academia suffers from "academic failure" in much the same way that markets suffer from "market failure" and government suffers from "government failure." [Douglass] North's commitment to pedagogical quality, despite the lack of incentives to have such a commitment, may well have changed history by means of giving Paul [Heyne] the years of experience in a sympathetic environment that led to "The Economic Way of Thinking." Consider what history might have been like if the dominant introductory textbook in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s had been "The Economic Way of Thinking" instead of Samuelson's text.--Michael Strong

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