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The “Simple” Solution to Education Problems

March 29, 2012

Education is one of those odd areas where everyone seems to agree what the problems are, but no one agrees how to solve them.

For example, consider the widely bemoaned problem of teacher pay.  There seems to be plenty of agreement that teachers don’t get paid enough.  This seems to beg an obvious solution: pay teachers plenty.  So why wouldn’t this work, and why doesn’t it happen?

A partial answer to both is obvious but nigh unmentionable: teaching doesn’t contribute to the economy.  If teaching was an economically productive activity, it would generate its own revenue.

It should be obvious that this is not an indictment of teachers, but an indictment of the prevailing educational framework that sets what is “academic” apart from “everything else in the world”.  As long as the false dichotomies between academia and commerce, and between commerce and the common good, are maintained, our efforts to “educate” ourselves will be wasted.


  1. Harroll permalink

    One way to associate teachers pay with the economy is by the grades that students receive. There is plenty of data (years of data) that states the more education you get the more money you’ll make. That translates directly to the economy.

    Follow me here. When students get good grades they are more likely to graduate. When students graduate from high school they’re more likely to go to college, at least a community college. Students in college are more likely to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. I think you see where I’m going.

    College graduates make more money than high school graduates. High school graduates make more money than high school dropouts. The more money you make the more you can add to the tax base and the general economy.

    The better a high school students grades the greater the potential of that person adding to and increasing the economy. One part of the solution to teachers pay is to tie it to grades of their students. Again, this is just part of the solution.

  2. The suggestion of paying teachers based on grades answers the question of determining how to distribute pay among teachers, but it doesn’t answer the question I intend to raise: where does the money come from?

    • Harroll permalink

      The money comes from the increased tax base. If every school district, every school, every principle and every teacher concentrated on excellence in their students the money would be raised by taxes. Even if we reduced the tax rate the economy would have more taxable income. Because more of our citizens would have more education and contributing more.

  3. Okay. So teachers need to do better, so people will make more money, so we can pay teachers more. Sounds simple enough. Get to work, teachers.

    Or we could flush the whole system and replace it with something better. That’s what I’m in favor of.

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