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Jane Stutsman

The problem is not tenure or unions - it is the system that we have for educating teachers. When I attended college in the 70's all students had to complete at least 2 levels of college algebra and either biology, chemistry or physics to graduate - unless you were an education major, then you took "Math in Society" and "General Science". Teaching is a profession and should be treated as such - why not expect the same level of training as a university professor? The requirements should be higher and the pay should be higher.

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tenure provides a valuable nonpecuniary benefit to teachers, and this enables public schools to hire them at lower salaries than would otherwise be possible,there is the advent and introduction of the new electronic teaching aids that have to be paid for and their continual replacement due to planned obsolesence


the purpose of public teacher tenure laws is to prevent all the teachers from being cousins of the members of the school board.

without such laws, every school board election would bring a new round of teacher firings and hirings, all teaching jobs being political patronage.

the reason it is an issue is that the right is racist and has absolutely no desire to actually help children in under performing inner city schools so the issue is just offered up as a red herring.

john chamberlin

"The problem with American elementary and secondary education may not be its primarily public character, but income inequality and the tendency to segregation of students by family income."

you think? wow. what an insight.

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Jack, technology should help the schools to run more efficiently. However, many administrators opt for technological fads that are expensive and not yet ready for use in the classroom.

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Your comment has been posted 54151


Good article, excellent opinion

Private Schools

Poverty retards educational achievement, and the combination of poor students and poorly funded schools seems highly inimical to educational success...Great post, you have pointed out some superb details..

Anne Stuart

I think Posner hit some marks here, which might not happen often but still. That's something that makes me keep coming back to this blog.


All in all, a well argued post by Posner -- UNTIL you get to the aside he offers at the very end:

"The problem with American elementary and secondary education may not be its primarily public character, but income inequality and the tendency to segregation of students by family income."

It's off topic, at least from the standpoint of whether public school teachers should have tenure. But it's a subject Posner, and Becker, could explore in the future.

Recognizing that Posner does not fully develop the point above, and giving him the benefit of the doubt, I nonetheless take issue with Posner's claim that "income inequality and the tendency to segregation of students by family income" is the root of a problem with American public schools.

This amounts to a claim that parents who work hard and do their best to get their kids into effective public schools, by moving to a better neighborhood if that is what it takes, are somehow a "problem" because lazy or indifferent parents won't do likewise for their kids. That notion is just plain wrong.

teaching veteran

Let's get real about the funding of schools in poverty-stricken areas. The school district I teach in has a good number of schools that are in low-income areas, and those schools are rolling in federal money! Those schools have more materials than they could ever use, plus they have extra personnel. Those of us who teach in the primarily "white & Asian" schools on the other hand wind up buying a lot of things we need with our own money. And--I'm in a state that doesn't allow teacher unions, so there's no question of tenure.


teaching veteran, Are you complaining about a "Reverse missallocation" of funding or problems of anti-union or professional organization sentiment within your State? For Education to be truly effective the student needs to bring something to the table. As we say in our area, "Why can't Dick and Jane read and write? Simple. Dick and Jane don't want to read and write. So the solution appears to be "Motivation". But is it? As one disadvantaged group of students I once tutored put it, "Why do I need to learn this stuff. I can steal what I need or sell drugs for the money." As for my Mom and Dad, I don't know who my Father is and as for Mom, all she wants to do is sell her butt for crack". So much for the home front. And yes, "I'm a member of Gang. My brother wouldn't join and they killed him".

Within the disadvantaged Urban Complex, it's a vicious battle trying to beat down the reality of Gangs, Guns and Drugs which is these kids daily reality...

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Very nice article, It is good to hear education is valued!

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Articulation is not possible without practice and your post is like amazing things you have mentioned. Thanks to write the article and keep writing. It’s really good.

i read the contract

maybe the teachers posting here should identify themselves? a little fair disclosure perhaps? or same from those who work for the teachers' unions. not that all teachers are biased and more interested in the pay packet than whether kids get an education....

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Well The student bodies in the well-funded public schools and private schools in this country are heavily white and Asian. Even Our large black and Hispanic populations along with lower-class and lower middle-class whites, tend to be educated in public..Nice one..

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How happy to read your post, I hope I can write the article the same wonderful as you.


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One thing that we need to clarify is our terminology in this debate.

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I agree. But the question is the time frame.

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Thank you for such an informative website and post on the EU debt crisis. This is particularly the case when there seems to be constant and volatile opposition in these weaker EU nations to austerity measures.

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Will China Overtake Us? which is good news for both the US and the Chinese people.

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