Investing in Human Capital
As an educator I do go on about the importance of education. I have worked on temporary assignments that were so difficult it kept me working from morning to night 7 days per week and when I calculated what I was actually making per hour, well, my students were getting about the same at the their part time after school jobs. And then parents that do not discipline their kids dump all over you. Their undisciplined kids are part of the reason the work load has grown so much.
This kind of working condition is why about 40% of north american teachers leave the profession in the first 5 years. In Britain the working conditions are even worse, you can work those kind of hours and feel like the only thing you do is try to deal with behaviour issues. This article says that 40% are leaving in the first two years.
More importantly it is showing that young people are no longer escaping their socioeconomic class. I went over there to teach and left after 4 months and I lasted longer then the other 67% in the group I started with. One was in a school that was considered a good school and parents would pay an extra 100k pounds for a home on that side of town to get their kids in that school and other other was in a job that had no marking or prep. The school was so bad, he was an extra teacher that out of control students were delivered to. His job was to just keep them there so perhaps some education could happen in the class they had been removed from.
What I know about the British education system is that a number of beginning teachers from Canada have gone to teach there and have left the occupation. It seemed to me that relative funding was about 30% less then Canada and I know that Canada is now in a place that if you take much more away and it seems hopeless, then teachers stop putting in all the unpaid hours they currently give. Teachers give a lot of free time when they can see the rewards of their efforts in their students. Make it impossible and teachers no longer try and basically say screw it to working for free, and students fall through the cracks, more and more and eventually you have the mess like you have in Britain. It was so bad living there I'd be humming "In the ghetto," on my walk to school and I kept thinking about the decline of social norms as written in the book "Lord of the Flies."
The wall street bailouts of the wealthy would pay for an awful lot of education.
This quote just drives me crazy...
"One British study found that out of a group of 50 teachers, a child taught by one of the best ten will learn at twice the speed as one taught by one of the worst ten.
The Government's Training and Development Agency for Schools says the best-qualified teachers are less likely to work in schools in the worst areas"
How well kids learn is highly dependent on good parenting skills and the lifestyle that surrounds them. I was in a bad school in and the most successful teacher in my department used techniques that you'd be thrown out of teaching here. When the truant kids came to disrupt his classroom he swore them, "get the hell out of here you f*** bas***." They replied they were going to tell the head master and he'd ring out a string of profanity "go ahead you %$&!!" They never did and he didn't have problems with truant kids disrupting his classroom. I had them come into my room and climb over desks and throw books and papers off the shelves, kind of like a zoo. Pick on the new teachers was sport for them. He also used methods that would get you kicked out within the class, including swearing at them. The kids all called him a bas*** behind his back, but they also learned.
Another teacher that was new there said the advice to just wait for the students to quiet down so you could start teaching wasn't working. He said he'd just stood "at the front of his class for a week now..." I'd have to agree that that just doesn't work in these socio economic classes.
So, for any meaningful results move the "bad" teachers in the difficult teaching environments to the where the "good" teachers teach in the easier teaching environment and then compare results.