Because Bad Ideas Need Love Too
From the report Teaching Inequality, published in June by the Education Trust:
And, finally, take a cue from professional sports and start using a “draft strategy.” That is, put high-poverty, struggling schools at the head of the hiring line, allowing them to have the first pick of teaching talent. If we can give struggling sports teams first dibs on talented new players, can’t we do the same for low-performing schools and provide these schools a decent shot at giving good teachers to the students who need the most help?
Scene: The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It’s a full, rowdy house, filled with screaming fans in face paint, awash in the ecstasy of the moment. "Get Ready for This!” blasts over the speakers, whipping the frenzied crowd into an even higher fervor.
Chris Berman: Hello education fans, and welcome to the 2006 Teachers Draft! I’m Chris “Lots of Nicknames” Berman, joined today by analysts Mel Kiper Jr., and Andy Katz. Mel, give us the answer to the question on everyone’s mind—who will be the number one pick?
Mel Kiper: Chris, this is as wide open as I’ve seen the draft since Rafe Esquith went number one in 1992. There are literally thousands of possibilities, and any one of them would be a great fit for Coach Moskowitz’s team at Harlem Success.
Andy Katz: What I’m hearing from sources close to the league office is to keep an eye on where the Teach for America folks go. They’ve got great fundamentals that a lot of the teachers coming out of college just aren’t getting any more.
Berman: It looks like we’re about to find out….here comes the commissioner!
(Rod Paige comes out from behind the curtain. He’s wearing a tweed jacket, a bolo tie, and, inexplicably, no pants)
Paige: Hello teaching fans!
I’d like to thank Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein for all their help with this year’s draft. We couldn’t do it without them. The teachers couldn’t do it without them. In fact, all good in the world flows from the glistening wellspring that is Joel Klein’s magnanimous, all-knowing self. Reading rugs will save education in this country!
(More cheering. A “PED-a-GO-gy!” chant starts in the back of the room and grows to a thunderous roar. Towards the front of the room two men wearing Rick Hess masks headbutt each other.)
Paige: All the hard work and preparation pays off today for the nation’s teachers, as they will be told where they can spend the rest of their careers. Sure, it might not be where they want to work, but that’s wholly irrelevant to what we’re doing today.
Berman: Amen, Rod!
Paige: And with the first pick in the 2006 Teachers Draft, Harlem Success Charter School selects....Reg Weaver, President of the National Education Association!
(The crowd sits in stunned silence. TV cameras pick up Reg Weaver, who looks shocked. The silence is then broken by a shriek from a table up front)
Eva Moskowitz: NOT REG WEAVER! PEG WEAVER, FROM NYU! OH MY GOD, I SPELLED IT WRONG AGAIN!
(Eva screams in fury and begins throttling the 23 year old first year teacher next to her, who takes it because she’s an at-will employee)
Paige: Wow, what a bummer. Good luck Eva!
Berman: Let’s go to Andy Katz, who is live with President Weaver.
Katz: Reg, how do you feel about this dramatic turn of events?
Weaver: This is a complete mistake. I can’t be expected to teach—I haven’t seen the inside of a classroom in 20 years!
Katz: Indeed! Back to you, Boomer.
Berman: Reg Weaver may be off the board, but there is still plenty of all-star talent out there. I can see Mr. Paige coming back to the podium; let’s hear who’s next!
Paige: With the second pick in the Teachers Draft, Craphole High School selects….. Stereotypical Careerchanger!
Berman: A bold pick for Craphole High! What can you tell us about him, Mel?
Kiper: Chris, Careerchanger has wanted nothing more in life than to teach kids but has been consistently blocked from the classroom by the foul, petty machinations of the evil, malignant teachers unions. Now, thanks to the Teacher Draft, he can finally live the dream!
Berman: What are his stats?
Kiper: SC is a 40 year old accomplished professional with rich life experience. He nailed a 5.5 40 in the teacher combine last month, and he’s been able to go for 13 hours at a time without using the restroom. He was in charge of a department of 120 people at his old job, where he made $170,000 a year.
Berman: Wait a minute, Mel….$170,000?
Kiper: That’s right, Boomer.
Berman: Interesting! Let’s go to Andy Katz, covering the contract negotiations between SC and his new school.
(Careerchanger is sitting at a table with officials from Craphole High, a shocked look on his face)
Careerchanger: $33,000 a year? Are you kidding me?!? That’ll barely cover my mortgage!
Balding Administrator: (looking rather put out) Sir, that’s what we pay all of our beginning teachers. You haven’t ever taught children; in fact, the only teaching experience listed on your resume involved getting the family dog to sit.
Careerchanger: Irrelevant! I demand top money, full autonomy, and to only teach the best kids!
Katz: It looks like there could be a holdout down here, Chris. What drama!
Berman: Indeed, Andy! Folks, we have to go to our first commercial break, but stay with us for complete coverage of the draft on all the ESPN family of networks!