Sunday, November 29, 2009

Five Innovative Education Reforms

Franchise Tag--In the NFL, a team can place a Franchise Tag on a player. This option allows a team to hold the rights to a player who might have otherwise left via free agency. If the team places a franchise tag on a player, he is guaranteed to make either 120% of his current salary or the average of the top 5 salaries, depending on which is greater.

Imagine a school district with a highly talented teacher who wants to leave, or a good teacher in a highly needed field--say math or science--who is also seeking a new school. The district could then "Franchise" the teacher for the following year. This would allow the district a full year to seek out a new, highly qualified teacher as a replacement.

Teacher of the Year--in MLB, the league's MVP is determined by the Major League Baseball Writers Association of America. This means that every voter is swayed by their own bias. Everyone knows this. Everyone hates this. Everyone accepts this.

We need to have one universal way to vote for Teacher of the Year--the class and school officers along with their cabinets. Biased? Yes. Would we all know this? Yes. Would we all hate this? Yes. Could we accept this? Yes. Imagine the lunchroom debates, the mocking of certain votes. We could have the school newspaper interview voters and demand explanation. It's a win-win.

Sponsorships--In Seattle, it used to be the Kingdome. Now, it's Safeco Field. In New York, it used to be Shea Stadium. Now it's Citi Field. In NCAA football, we used to watch the Cotton Bowl. Now we watch the AT&T Cottonbowl. My dad used to watch the Triple Crown in horseracing. Now we all watch the Visa Triple Crown.

Educators regularly decry the lack of funding for supplies, facilities, and salaries. Imagine if we stopped naming schools for their towns or after some famous person. Instead of having attended Ellington High School, I could have attended Big Y High School. Students have to take the CAPT here in Connecticut. Now, they could take the Traveler's CAPT. Hell, my classroom could use some computers for students to produce work on so maybe my room could secure a sponsorship from Starbucks. To make sure we can afford books, we could have Pfizer AP Chemistry or Barnes and Noble AP Literature. The possibilities are endless.

Wine Bars--When I lived outside of Seattle, there was a delightful wine bar--Purple Cafe. With its mellow metropolitan mood, such establishments delight and calm patrons. The welcoming atmosphere is perfect for a date or a buisness meeting.

Staff meetings suck. But imagine staff meetings taking place at a wine bar. Instead of meeting all together (80 plus staff), administrators could meet once a month with departments. We could sit and discuss business with the entrancing smoothness of jazz dancing in our ears and the robust spices of a gently fruity Red Zinfandel. Yep, I'm enjoying staff meetings a whole lot more.

Reality TV--Think about the way in which reality television has influenced society. The Real World helped us to the see what was really going on in the lives of hyper-sexed early twenties adults. Tempatation Island helped us to understand what was going in the lives of hyper-sexed, married, mid-twenty-somethings. Survivor taught us how to manipulate and strategize in the our own worlds. The Biggest Loser helped us feel better about our extra twenty pounds. In the end, it's been a benefit to society.

Now, the world could be introduced to what really goes on in the lives of teachers. They'd see us when we talk about the students and each other. Our insecurities would be exploited. America is ready to see the behind-the-scenes world of public education. Imagine awkwardly watching some young teacher bawling his eyes out after some kid told him to fuck himself. You can hear the snorting, the blubbering, and see the snot dripping, the face contorting. What would be better than watching two strong headed teachers tearing each other apart over whether we should allow students to listen to iPods between classes or take independent studies. Come on, you know you'd watch.


At 4:12 PM , Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

The Wine Bar thing? Sheer, undisguised GENIUS, my man!

But the reality show would suffer from the fact that everybody, deep down, really understands that reality shows do not depict reality-- and so no one would actually believe the stuff that goes on in a teacher's day.....

At 10:50 AM , Blogger sasdf15f said...

Better late than never.

At 11:11 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...



At 10:57 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Very interesting blog.
There are a lot of ideas circulating in the world of education as to how to improve funding and teacher pay. I applaud your creativity, while I don't necessarily agree with all your points. Sponsoring schools would be a good idea if we limited it to things like computer labs, libraries and text books. I think there is something about a schools name that is sentimental and essential for maintaining a sense of culture and community. I don't want to be "Visa Alumni of (insert town/city)" I want to say where I graduated from with pride, not a marketing ploy. The name and mascot of a school add so much character and spirit to a school.
As far as franchise tagging teachers... pretty cool idea... it would reward great teachers and inspire others to strive to be better- increasing pay.
The reality TV show might be very interesting but it would be very difficult to do... I am all for showing the world how much work teachers really do but making it real and not disturbing students or exploiting them would be hard.


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