Friday, December 10, 2010

investing in the future

The new Freakanomics book is a great read so far. One interesting connection made is the unintended consequence of the feminist movement on education. Once upon a time the only options for ambitious smart women were nursing and teaching. So those two professions got the cream of the crop. Now that smart ambitious women can compete in higher paying fields, teaching and nursing are left with less qualified applicants. And that has hurt our education. Matt Miller explains why the tax cuts were a terrible compromise, and how much better that money would be used if it went to increase teacher pay. Studies show that teacher quality is the single most important factor in student performance. But why would highly qualified and brilliant women or men put up with the stress of teaching for a wage which will not support a middle-class lifestyle? The average beginning teacher salary in North Carolina is 31,000$ which means that beginning teachers in many places earn less than that.  Instead of putting our resources into recruiting and paying the brightest students into the teaching profession, we are giving tax cuts to megamillionaires. No wonder our education system is becoming third-rate in the world.

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