Tuesday, October 04, 2011

What if the All Blacks played by teachers' rules? [updated]

Fran Tarkenton (Former NY Giants and Minnesota Vikings quaRterback) makes an observation in today's Wall Street Journal that I’ve translated into New Zealandese for you:

carterImagine NZ Rugby in an alternate reality. Each player's salary is based on how long he's been playing in the Super 15 or the All Blacks. It's about tenure, not talent. The same scale is used for every player, no matter whether he's a three-time winner of the IRB’s Rugby Player of the Year or the man who regularly never makes it off the bench until the seventieth minute. But for every year a player's been in the Super 15 or ABs, he gets a bump in pay. The only difference between Dan Carter and Stephen Donald is a few years of step increases. And if a player makes it through his third season, he can never be cut from the roster until he chooses to retire, except in the most extreme cases of misconduct.

Because if Dan Carter were injured, you’d always be able to select his equivalent off the bench, wouldn’t you. And you’d always want Stephen Donald around to fall back on.

Let's face the truth about this alternate reality: The on-field product would steadily decline. Why bother playing harder or better and risk getting hurt?
    No matter how much money was poured into the NPC, the Super 15 or the All Blacks, it wouldn't get better. In fact, in many ways the disincentive to play harder or to try to stand out would be even stronger with more money.
    Of course, a few wild-eyed reformers might suggest the whole system was broken and needed revamping to reward better results, but the players union would refuse to budge and then demonize the reform advocates: "They hate rugby. They hate the players. They hate the fans." The only thing that might get done would be building bigger, more expensive stadiums and installing more state-of-the-art technology. But that just wouldn't help.
    If you haven't figured it out yet, NZ Rugby in this alternate reality is the real-life public education system. Teachers' salaries have no relation to whether teachers are actually good at their job—excellence isn't rewarded, and neither is extra effort. Pay is almost solely determined by how many years they've been teaching. That's it. After a teacher earns tenure, which is often essentially automatic, firing him or her becomes almost impossible, no matter how bad the performance might be. And if you criticize the system, you're demonized for hating teachers and not believing in our nation's children.

As Tarkenton says, “Our rigid, top-down, union-dictated system isn't working. If results are the objective, then we need to loosen the reins, giving teachers the ability to fulfill their responsibilities to students to the best of their abilities” rather than the dictates of the Ministry and of central government.

Robert Wenzel observes that the blame is not all with the teacher unions; “the problem is really government involvement in the education system.”

The answer is to get government out of the education business so it can grow and thrive,  just like the All Blacks …

UPDATE:  Legendary quarterback Fran Tarkenton was interviewed on Fox News on this issue:

Should NFL Rules Apply to Teachers?.

[Thanks to commenter “School Principal” for the link.]

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9 Comments:

Blogger PM of NZ said...

"so it can grow and thrive, just like the Rugby Union"


Fully agree government as usual is the problem.

But that would be the same Rugby Union 'growing and thriving' we witness today as ratepayers and taxpayers are stiffed for yet another $5M. Yep, their private business model is really working. For them.

10/04/2011 12:26:00 pm  
Anonymous School Principal said...

Fran Tarkenton was interviewed on Fox News on this issue.

Famed quarterback Fran Tarkenton on meritocracy in education

10/04/2011 01:18:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

@pm of NZ: Yes, that one might have suffered somewhat in translation. I should have said the AFL. :-)

Anyway, it's corrected now, I hope.

10/04/2011 02:14:00 pm  
Blogger justinraine said...

I'll be the first to say it:

"That's Incredible!"

10/04/2011 03:04:00 pm  
Anonymous matt said...

Terrifying article. Any metaphor involving Stephen Donald scares the snot out of me.

10/04/2011 07:04:00 pm  
Anonymous Elijah Lineberry said...

I am sitting here visualising Colin Meads and Andy Haden still in the All Blacks 438 years later... ("..earns tenure, which is often essentially automatic, firing him or her becomes almost impossible, no matter how bad the performance might be. And if you criticize the system, you're demonized for hating teachers and not believing in our nation's ..")

The socialist way of doing things is so silly, isn't it?

10/04/2011 08:01:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Świetny artykuł! Zapraszam na stronę http://moj-sprzet.blogspot.com/ gdzie codziennie pojawiają się nowe artykuły o komputerach.

10/05/2011 06:26:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is almost beyond the realm of plausibility that you would apply the system of professional sport to teachers. Let me point out some differences.
1: Teachers are in short supply. Wannabe pro rugby players are not.
2: Teachers can work until they are at least 65. Rugby players have a career which can only last a decade at most.
3: Teachers get better with experience. Rugby players get slower with age.
4: Teachers are largely considered to be underpaid, given how important they are in the lives and development of children. Rugby players are largely considered to be overpaid.

But by all means, continue bashing teachers simply because they are the last union with any sense of control over their profession.
Regards
Alex

10/06/2011 04:40:00 pm  
Anonymous the drunken watchman said...

Hey, give Stephen Donald a break.

Whoever said "Teachers are largely considered to be underpaid, given how important they are in the lives and development of children." has tangled up cause and effect.

This is the sort of illogical crap my kids hear at school.It has become a full-time job debriefing them every day, and I despair for the kids whose parents simply abandon them to the over-paid morons.

10/06/2011 09:30:00 pm  

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