Sunday, April 17, 2011

Teaching credentials. One heck of a ponzi scheme?

A week ago, I had invited over for dinner at home four students who will soon graduate, and one with a graduate degree in teaching.  I asked "L" whether that grad degree is really needed when teaching in the third grade classroom, which is the career goal here.  Turns out that a mere grad degree is not that much of an employment credential anymore--additional certifications and licenses are also needed to land that job!

Unless all the four soon-to-be-graduates (all four in different fields of study) were faking it because I was the host (!), they were unanimous that the entire higher education came across to them as one "huge corporation."

This expensive credential inflation bankrupts the youth who are spending the money they don't have.  It, of course, makes colleges and universities rich and they can then build multimillion dollar gyms with climbing walls and student union buildings with wine bars.

The system is also rigged that teachers with graduate degrees get paid more too.  I have noted before--almost two years ago--the cost escalation to the system because of the additional compensation for teachers with graduate degrees:
A 2007 study estimated that 2.1 percent of all current expenditures can be attributed to teacher compensation related to master’s degrees. Seen another way, the master’s bump costs the average school district $174 per pupil.
... A Nebraska lawmaker, for example, should probably be aware that, on a yearly basis, roughly $81 million dollars—$279 per pupil—are tied up in master’s degrees and thus unavailable for other purposes. During this time of fiscal stringency, it should raise eyebrows when a state automatically allocates over 3 percent of the average per pupil expenditure in a manner that is not even suspected of promoting higher levels of student achievement.
Here in Oregon, according to this study, the extra cost as a result of this master's bump is $109,520,560.

Forget everything else, and merely use logical and rational thinking here.  How is a graduate degree holder better than an undergraduate degree holder when explaining anything to students in the third grade?  What do we Oregonians, for example, get for this additional 109 million dollar investment?  Nothing!  We spend all that money for nothing.
On average, master’s degrees in education bear no relation to student achievement. Master’s degrees in math and science have been linked to improved student achievement in those subjects, but 90 percent of teachers’ master’s degrees are in education programs—a notoriously unfocused and process-dominated course of study.
And, hey, if you want it from the proverbial horse's mouth, well, I blogged about that too a few months ago:
In a speech at an American Enterprise Institute forum on Wednesday, the secretary of education, Arne Duncan, said state and local governments should rethink their policies of giving pay raises to teachers who have master’s degrees because evidence suggests that the degree alone does not improve student achievement.
Coming soon to the third grade classroom in your neighborhood school: teachers with doctorates!

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