Sunday, February 3, 2013

134. Education.2

One must admire C.W. for being tenacious. Whether it is a Falloonian characteristic or one developed while amongst us lower species, he doesn’t give up easily. Take his current interest in education.
He was back yesterday to admit that his highly-touted “Three H” system proved flawed. It was true that classes composed of only honor students, homogeneous cohorts, and honest, law abiding students performed better on standardized tests than others. But problems arose.

The most severe involved unscrupulous superintendents channeling 3H classrooms to preferred teachers, sometimes for sexual favors, or even worse, political ones.

So, he was back with another plan. This time he was a dead ringer for Michelle Rhee herself.

“Out with the old, and in with the new,” she said.

“Okay, lay it on me,” I said.

“I beg your pardon?”

“Sorry. Let’s hear it—your new plan to save education.”

“It has eleven steps,” she said. “My old plan only had ten.”

“Eleven is better?”

“Oh please,” she said. “Pay attention.”

“Let’s hear it.”

“This one is called the Success Account Program.”


“Exactly. It has eleven steps, but the long-range teacher award system is at its core.”
“The long-range teacher …”

“Award system. See,” she said. “After careful study we decided that the long-range success of students should be the consideration upon which teacher rewards are based.”


“Yes, didn’t you have a teacher who contributed to your success?” She stopped and thought. “Well, in your case that might be a tough question.”

“I did have one, Doris Morgan,” I said, trying to be helpful. “Hadn’t it been for her, I would probably have been a TV evangelist, or worse.”

“Worse?” she said. She considered it for a moment, shook her head, and continued. “Anyway, under the SAP program, a rewards account would be set up for each teacher. For every student that proved successful in life, a cash award would be deposited into the account.”

“Successful in life?”

“Yes, say one became a respected cinematographer. Ca-ching!”


“Or, say, a Presbyterian minister. Ca-ching again.”

“Oh,” I said. Maybe one owned a successful ad firm, or editorial company, or became a police officer, a professor, a Mayor, a marketing genius, a nurse, good parent, or a teacher.”

“Ca-ching, ca-ching, ca-ching, ad infinitum,” she said with a huge oriental smile on her face.

“Or developed a successful blog site.” I was on a roll, thinking of my friend Lisa.

This time she didn’t look quite so please. “Perhaps,” she said. “At any rate, good teachers would become among the highest-paid professionals in the country.”

“I have only one question, though,” I said.

“What question could you possibly have?”

“Did you consider the Null Hypothesis?”

“The what?”

“The possibility that the results might not work as planned.”

“How could they not work?”

“Well,” I said, trying to be as ‘thoughty’ as possible. “Suppose a teacher produced a Bernie Maddoff, a Ken Lay, or …” I thought long and hard. “Say a Glenn Beck?”

Her smile vanished. “What are you saying?”

“Can the awards account be charged for screw-ups?”

She didn’t respond, just assumed her most inscrutable face.

There simply has to be a way to introduce
profit-motive into our educational system.
Why, Jeb Bush himself says so. - C.W.
I pressed her. “Are you willing to have SAP work both ways?”

She remained deep in thought.

“Can you see the implications?” I was enjoying this.

“But,” she said, rapidly running through all sorts of permutations and combinations involving high-level mathematical tests, I assumed.

“But, …,” she said.


“My plan goes to eleven.”

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