October 29, 2003
The willingness to teach but the unwillingness to let it happen

Mike Alissi of Hit & Run comments, and then Robert Clayton Dean of Samizdata follows up, on how New York's inner city school system is failing to make use of the many high quality applicants who apply to it for teaching posts. Excerpt from the Washington Post report:

A new report on the study, "Missed Opportunities: How We Keep High-Quality Teachers Out of Urban Schools," concludes that those school systems alienate many talented applicants because of rules that protect teachers already on staff and because of slow-moving bureaucracies and budgeting delays.

"As a result, urban districts lose the very candidates they need in their classrooms . . . and millions of disadvantaged students in America's cities pay the price with lower-quality teachers than their suburban peers," wrote researchers Jessica Levin and Meredith Quinn, who were given rare access to the inner workings of school districts in four U.S. cities.

It was standard procedure to let impressive applications sit in file drawers for months, the researchers found, while the candidates, needing to get their lives in order, secured work elsewhere. One district, for example, received 4,000 applications for 200 slots but was slow to offer jobs and lost out on top candidates.

This is a classic illustration of how fallacious the Fixed Quantity of Education Fallacy is. Here are lots of people wanting to supply more education but the system doesn't allow it to actually be supplied. This education doesn't go elsewhere. It goes nowhere.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 11:37 AM
Category: Sovietisation