Defending the Indefensible

There is an Watchdog article in the Union Tribune, nee U-T, that describes the San Diego public school teachers who receive more than $100,000 a year in pay. Right now there are more than 200 Blog entries either supporting more pay, or defending the 47th in the nation student standing of the California students, as determined by the US Department of Education.

Can we agree at least that teachers, like everyone else, perform on a bell-shaped curve and that, like every other human, their performance can be measured? Teachers do not upon certification assume a new and yet un verified DNA that makes them different?

Teachers are not like the children of Lake Woebegone, and are all above average! They are, dare I say it, humans with all the requisite foibles of other humans — and that means that of the 300,000 teachers in this state, there are 30,000 at the left end of a bell-shaped curve. That happens with Astronauts, Submarine Commanders, Corporate CEOs, football players, students, et al, and — I am sorry if this offends — teachers, as well!

I think we have discovered a new Species of Human: Teachers.

Using data from 2010 college entry SAT scores, we find that teachers score below the mean in Reading (Critical Reading mean score 501, Education majors 481); math (Mean Math score 516, Education Majors, 486); and Writing (Mean Writing score 492, Education Majors 477).

However, immediately upon graduation, half the Teachers are Above Average on the (Gaussian)Bell Shaped Curve, and the other half are just Average.

This new species (Teacher Magnus), do not conform to the Bell Shaped Curve. They are a straight-line function at the very highest level, and all should be paid handsomely regardless of the results of their product, because, well because they are Teachers.

To steal a bit from My Fair Lady:

“One man in a million may shout a bit.
Now and then there’s one with slight defects;
One, perhaps, whose truthfulness you doubt a bit.
But by and large we are a marvelous sex! “

Or, in this case, a profession.

And, although they are salaried, they also want the advantage granted hourly workers, overtime. (Something like a salaried Sgt. In the Marines gets a salary plus overtime, or a Lt. who submerges for three months at a time gets…ahhh…they don’t? strike that!)

We should examine this odd creature called a “Teacher” — so, more in due course.

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