Favorite

Walton man says teacher pay's fine 

 

The Waltons of that world-class Wal-Mart wealth have given money to the University of Arkansas to employ this guy to go around saying public school teachers get paid plenty already.

That sounds like an ironic joke. It sounds like something I’d come up with if a guy said, “Hey, I’ll give you a hundred dollars if you can write something crazy that makes every school teacher in Arkansas throw an eraser across the classroom.”

But I’m just giving you the straight skinny.

The Walton Foundation famously bestowed those hundreds of millions on the U of A in the biggest higher education gift ever. Part of it went to this education reform operation — maybe reform should’ve been in quotes — to preach student testing and merit teacher pay and charter schools.

This education reform operation contains this specially endowed chair occupied by Dr. Jay P. Greene, a Harvard man who also has concurrent work as a senior fellow with the right-wing Manhattan Institute, funded in part by rich old Clinton-hater Richard Mellon Scaife.

On Friday, Greene shared a double byline on a piece in The Wall Street Journal’s online edition saying teachers on average get $34 per hour and that this is better than economists or architects or average white-collar workers get on average.

Well, now. He arrived at this figure by not annualizing teacher income, but figuring it on a nine-month basis. Time off in the summer, and for spring break and the holiday season, has monetary value, he said.

Greene wrote that the best-paid teachers tend to work in urban areas producing the worst student test scores, as if better-paid teachers meant lower-performing students. As if we might produce nothing but National Merit finalists if we paid teachers zero. Socio-economic factors provide the explanation, of course.

He wrote — and you knew this was coming — that the problem is not how much teachers get, but the way they get it. He eschewed the current prevailing system basing pay on experience and education level, favoring, of course, a merit system tied to extra work and student test performance.

He contended that teachers get paid plenty already, but that we don’t get better education by paying them so well. Then he turned around and said we need to pay some even more if we want better education.

I guess that kind of logic is what the UA paid for when it hired Greene in the summer of 2005 at a reported salary of $160,000 a year.

A hundred and sixty thousand bucks? How much does that come to per hour, considering his concurrent work with the Manhattan Institute? What kinds of benefits are accruing to UA matriculants as a result of that salary, surely one of the highest on campus except for football coaches?

Allow me to summarize. Adapting some successful charter school methods and paying more to teachers working extra hours to perform them — that’s a worthy notion. Tying teacher bonuses to student test scores is misguided and counterproductive, in my opinion, but debatable and not inherently nonsensical.

What’s inherently nonsensical — no, breathtakingly offensive — is for someone interested in those very reforms to be so politically lead-footed as to write an article saying teachers are paid plenty already, and do so while he pulls down $160,000 or more in a public education faculty position himself, and while he is underwritten by a foundation created by wealthy heirs of a fortune gleaned in part from low employee wages and sparse employee benefits.

Favorite

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by John Brummett

  • Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

    Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?
    • Oct 5, 2011
  • A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

    There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • Can we talk? Can we get anywhere?

    Dialogue is good. It would be even better if someone would venture off script every once in a while.
    • Sep 21, 2011
  • More »

More by Max Brantley

Most Shared

  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • Lessons from Standing Rock

    A Fayetteville resident joins the 'water protectors' allied against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
  • Child welfare too often about 'punishing parents,' DCFS consultant tells legislators

    Reforms promised by the Division of Children and Family Services are "absolutely necessary," the president of DCFS's independent consultant told a legislative committee this morning. But they still may not be enough to control the state's alarming growth in foster care cases.
  • Donald Trump taps Tom Price for HHS Secretary; Medicaid and Medicare cuts could be next

    The selection of Tom Price as HHS secretary could signal that the Trump administration will dismantle the current healthcare safety net, both Medicaid and Medicare.
  • Fake economics

    Fake news is a new phenomenon in the world of politics and policy, but hokey economic scholarship has been around as long as Form 1040 and is about as reliable as the news hoaxes that enlivened the presidential campaign.

Latest in John Brummett

  • Gone to the DoG

    We're now longer carrying John Brummett's column in this space.
    • Oct 12, 2011
  • Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

    Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?
    • Oct 5, 2011
  • A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

    There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

  • Arkansas Democrats' rocky road forward

    No state political party in the modern era has had a more abrupt fall than Arkansas's Democrats
  • Forget identity politics

    Amid the climate of disbelief and fear among Democrats following Donald Trump's election, a fascinating debate has broken out about what's called "identity politics" on the left, "political correctness" by the right.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Forget identity politics

    • Before reading this, I had no idea that it was possible for a person to…

    • on December 4, 2016
  • Re: Fake economics

    • TP, what do you suggest are the significant differences between Reaganomics and Brownbackomics? In contrast,…

    • on December 4, 2016
  • Re: Arkansas Democrats' rocky road forward

    • Rabid and ADRKE, Agreed. We should not focus on controversial issues, and Arkansas' platform on…

    • on December 4, 2016
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation