Why would we want a school system where essentially everyone over the age of thirty is a lifer, locked into a single district? It’s bad for labor mobility; it’s bad for the natural cross-fertilization of ideas that helps other professions advance; and it’s not so great for teachers unless they’re so incompetent that they couldn’t get a job anywhere else. The whole system where we get people to work at artificially low pay in the early years, in exchange for an outsized payoff that they can only collect by staying in the same system for most of their life, doesn’t seem destined to promote excellence.
Megan McArdle teases apart the American teacher compensation schemes. As former chancellor Joel Klein discovered in the NYC schools, the incentives for teachers and administrators are bad, very bad.
Highly recommended. And please do not miss the Joel Klein Atlantic essay The Failure of American Schools [June 2010].