Watching people argue about how much teachers make makes me think that we are asking the wrong questions, and getting garbage answers. Below the fold is a vid from reason.tv showing one of their journalists heckling attendees of the “Save our Schools” rally in DC. Some of their responses were hilariously inane, like the girl who suggested that there’s no amount that’s too high to spend on schools. However, most of the people they interviewed seemed pretty sharp, including Matt Damon, who had a rather eloquent reply. One of the words he used to describe the idea that we need to eliminate tenure to give teachers incentive to do a good job was paternalistic. Now, he of course is arguing with people who ostensibly despise paternalism.
Indeed, the main argument made by the reasonroids’ side of the debate isn’t that we need to set salaries or incentives for teachers differently. If we really are simply thinking in terms of incentive or the “MBA mentality,” we’d rightly conclude that Damon, however smart he is, is wrong to downplay the importance of salary and job security and raise salaries in order to attract more and better teachers. The argument is, or should be, that it is highly paternalistic to put teachers in a position that their job security, perks and even wages are at the mercy of taxpayers. The problem is taxpayers are stingy assholes.
People on reason.tv’s side of the debate trap themselves into a corner arguing for less cushy jobs for teachers when the free market very well could offer better working conditions for all we know. The fat seems not to be in teachers’ salaries and perks, but in supporting the various parasites that feed off the system*. If giving teachers rock star salaries brings more students to your school, then teachers will have rock star salaries. So let’s free teachers from the tyranny of the taxpayer**.
I’ll be posting my homework on my blog, so the internet can be my professor! Since the recitations are supposed to be oral, I’ll be posting my recitations in video. Read below (or click more..) to see answers & video. I also attached the answer key so you can compare the professor’s answers to mine. Continue reading →
For me, the ends of education is to learn – get new opportunities or at least exercise your brain; the degree is secondary (though I do seek a PhD eventually.. just my BS suits me just fine for now). So for me, MIT’s opencourse initiative is perfect! You can take classes from MIT for free! But.. sans the instructor (oh, but this course has videos, so it’s like he’s right there on my iPod mini). That’s where PhD friends and relatives come in handy, heh.
Anyway, I made this spreadsheet for myself for Biology 7.014, which is the basic Biology course for Biology majors. Just go down the list, and do the assignments and watch the lectures.. Then, try to discover something yourself..
The 3 elective courses yet to be decided, but then again, I do not plan on doing my education entirely this way. Just a couple of classes tops would be ideal. My path will probably go 7.014 -> 7.02 -> try to do my own experimental study -> start at brick & mortar institution. If I do do things this way, then I will need to score very well on the appropriate tests for entry for MS in bioscience and convince people that good self-study + BS in unrelated field should satisfy them…