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Friday, February 11, 2011

And What If You Paid Doctors Like Teachers?

ACOS posted this link on his Facebook page. The title pretty much says it all: "What If We Treated Doctors the Way We Treat Teachers?" It's worth a read. Thearticle is a response to those who blame teachers for the shortcomings of American education. While it is certainly true that teachers play a vital --indeed, central--role in the educational system, people fail to realize that a huge percentage of the factors affecting student performance are beyond the teacher's control: If a student fails to grasp basic algebra, is it because the teacher is inferior? Or is it because the student doesn't speak English well? Or because the student is more worried about where to get his next meal? Or, indeed, simply because the student just doesn't bother to do any homework, and his parents don't pressure him to do it? How many of these things is the teacher responsible for?

We don't punish doctors when their patients don't follow medical advice. We don't fire doctors if they diagnose a patient with high blood pressure, but the patient still has a heart attack after having a Big Mac. And if you think about it, compared to doctors, teachers have an infinitely better long-term success rate. After all, even if only 50% of a teacher's students ultimately graduate from high school, that compares quite favorably to the ultimately 100% mortality rate among even the best doctor's patients.

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