Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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DC vs Teacher Tenure

Really interesting article in the Times today about the DC school chancellor taking on teacher unions and tenure in a really interesting way. Basically, “Ms. Rhee has proposed spectacular raises of as much as $40,000, financed by private foundations, for teachers willing to give up tenure.” Being that my mother works in educational reform I’ve been schooled (no pun intended) on the issues that can come along with tenure in the school system and while I agree with some of the quotes that says its not the only problem with schools, it’s certainly a huge one. Bad teachers can’t get fired unless they break the law. What other industry can you be terrible at your job and keep it (plus keep getting paid more) for as long as you want it?

Just ran across this article by Nicholas Kristof that calls on Obama to focus on education. Towards the end is this paragraph: “There’s still a vigorous debate about how to improve education, but recent empirical research is giving us a much better sense of what works. A study by the Hamilton Project, a public policy group at the Brookings Institution, outlines several steps to boost weak schools: end rigid requirements for teacher certification that impede hiring, make tenure more difficult to get so that ineffective teachers can be weeded out after three years on the job and award hefty bonuses to good teachers willing to teach in low-income areas. If we want outstanding, inspiring teachers in difficult classrooms, we’re going to have to pay much more — and it would be a bargain.”

November 13, 2008