Alan Klayman

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Govt. has it all wrong. Up the salaries for teachers and we will attract and retain the best and brightest minds.

Start teacher salaries at $150,000 and with bonuses make them go up to $750,000. Fewer of our 'best and brightest' will become investment bankers, or lawyers and more will become teachers. Raising the bar on education, instead of "Lowest Common Denominator / get everyone through", can only help the economy and spur on innovation by giving our next generations real information that can help them and their communities succeed.

How do you pay for this? Increased incomes = increase tax base. Cut Administrative staff (Superintendents that do nothing and know nothing), people hired to man a copy machine (really happens!), consolidate school districts, outsource HR, Tech, Transportation and other redundant services.

In essence put the emphasis back on the children and away from the self-interest of school boards, superintendents, politicians and cronyism.

Get rid of tenure and lousy teachers that are there for a paycheck and treat the kids as a nuisance. Put incentives in place to reward the best of our schools to keep them, nurture them, and pay them.

Put in curriculums that actually are relevant to today and the future. Stop experimenting with reading and math, we know how they work. Start teaching real skills like - balancing a checkbook, creating a website, manners, courtesy, geography, selling, interfacing with others, creating groups, public speaking. Teach 3 languages starting in kindergarten.

And increase funding for all of the Arts.

  • Jul 30 2011: First of all I'm not sure how it works in USofA but having in mind that we discuss about people and motivating them we can look on some studies that were performed in USofA and around the world in regard to money - motivation - performance.
    Please refer to
    The bottom line is that if there's a complex activity (teaching is a very complex activity) big bonuses doesn't work and the pressure given by potential big bonus will kill the performance (we can consider a high bonus everything that exceeds ones quarterly salary).
    Secondly, a huge potential earning will definitely attract a lot of people to be teachers. Do we really want the brightest people being teachers?
    Fortunately or unfortunately (I'm not sure how to put it) teaching is very complex and requires a interesting mix of knowledge, attitudes, abilities and skills and this mix should be assessed.
    In conclusion, I guess that a mix between increasing the salaries and a better assessment system in education (i mean also for students not only for teachers but this could be another conversation) could have better results rather than attracting the brightest mind in teaching.
  • Jul 14 2011: There are a few talks on incentives, I have come to believe that you will attract the wrong people where the money is. It is sad but I believe supporting the teachers with all the tools would be much more beneficial. Have you seen Salman Khans talk, I believe this is what will open up the classroom to endless possibilities, ENDLESS :)
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    Jul 13 2011: Irrelevant - the problems don't lie with the teachers but the flawed assessment systems and a restrictive curriculum delivered in a prescribed and inflexible way.

    Make the conditions for learning about the learners instead of being about the measuring systems that are really there for the purpose of giving the bureaucrats convenient statistics to manipulate.
  • Jul 11 2011: Just thinking out loud, many private schools boast the best teachers possible, but actually pay lower salaries than public schools because the teachers aren't unionized. Travis, this speaks to what you were saying: private schools then claim that they attract the best teachers because their teachers aren't in it for the money, but for the experience of teaching. There are some other claims that private schools have, too, including more resources, less (or more competent and/or streamlined) administration, that also attract teachers, but this one seems to be the standout.

    That also raises another interesting point that I think could work with what you suggested, Ramana. Instead of the teachers' unions we have now, which, although they do serve a vital purpose, can often get in the way of what they were originally meant to do, what if we were to overhaul them to serve as... networks, for lack of a better word. What if we could set up organizations for teachers to belong to with services like tutorials, mentorships, workshops, and more?

    I'm not sure how that would tie in with your salary point, Alan, but it reminds me of a magnet I saw once in a classroom. I don't remember the wording exactly, but it said something along the lines of in a perfect world, teaching would be the world's noblest profession, as it shapes the next generation with the tools it needs to preserve, protect, and defend the world. It's a beautiful notion, and I wish teachers were recognized more for the difficult, often thankless job they do. We're all products of it, in some way, and I wish often that I had an opportunity to pay back for it.
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      Jul 12 2011: Teacher unions like any union is there to serve the needs of the teachers, to bring about more favorable work conditions. Now whether you agree with their demands or not is another matter, but its up to the teachers to decide whether their union is serving their interest are not, and would be silly of us to overhaul it because it was not serving out interest.
      I do agree it would be great to see teachers in different professional organizations to help them facilitate the needs of the class room.
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    Jul 10 2011: Instead of investing the money in faculty, focus on the children.

    There ought to be wonderful after school programs for children and their parents, learning doesn't only happen between 7 and 2 in brick buildings.
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      Jul 13 2011: if you invest in teaching tools and faculty is one of them the result must be better education

      I agree most learning happens at home - no one is born a bigot... gotta learn that somewhere...

      Failure in education in the schools breeds a generation that fails to educate their own children at home
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        Jul 13 2011: A. Investing in something does not guarantee success, throwing money at a problem doesn't fix it.

        B. You concede most learning happens in the house

        C. You blame failure in schools (where less learning happens) for failures at home.
        It seems it would be the other way around, failure at home is to blame for failure at school.

        It would seem higher pay for teachers is not the solution.
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          Jul 16 2011: A) agree
          B) do not agree - not everyone comes from a functional home - but agree for majority of population
          C) No No No No No I don't - maybe you do - you are reading things I have not written. Many a failure at home comes from people that just are not interested in their kids. As I wrote above "I agree most learning happens at home - no one is born a bigot... gotta learn that somewhere..."

          Illogical conclusion
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    Jul 10 2011: I'm not so sure the best and brightest are attracted solely by money. This process of weeding less capable teachers out flies in face of the philosophy of public education, which is the idea that as we educate people we improve their capabilities. Obviously not everyone is going to make the cut, but if our teachers have the proper training and support that will do a great deal more to improve our schools than hiring people who are a bit better at sniffing out the money.

    Of course I think we should be doing what we can to attract better teaches but giving them 400% raises is pretty unrealistic now since most of them are struggling to just keep what they have, How about offering those that teach learning opportunities for themselves both as an incentive to attract people who value education and as a means of keeping their skills sharp. Also we can provide incentives for more people who are not teachers to give class room presentations on various subjects. I'm sure even many people who have given TED talks would have giving similar talks at schools if a system was set up.
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      Jul 13 2011: don't give them all 400% raises... merit pay - get rid of the incompetence and reward those that take the time to actually teach the kids

      I'm pretty sure that money is a huge motivating factor for the majority of our graduate school graduating classes... where is it that they head towards? Investment Banking, Law, Medicine --> my point is that teaching should be in that mix
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        Jul 13 2011: sure money is a motivating force, but it is not the only one. I really would not want someone educating my kids to only be doing it for the money. I would prefer them to at least like working with children as much as cashing their check.
        As for merit pay find a way to judge teachers objectively and I will support it. Different teachers reach different students, and we have to deal with that. Teachers who teach children with less means (poor, dysfunctional family, lack of educated role models, etc, ) tend to do worse regardless of who is teaching them. Serious how do you propose we judge these teaches?
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          Jul 16 2011: I too would prefer teachers today like to work with children. Many of them just do not.

          I have seen many teachers look down at children as if they are a nuisance. There are so many that play favorites, talk about the kids behind their back, just don't care.

          Teaching is a noble profession, but I have seen the noblest teachers pushed out of this corrupt system.

          Check out todays reports about what has been going on the last 10 years in the Atlanta school system.
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    Jul 10 2011: I am sorry, I don't understand your logic. A teacher should not be someone who WANTS to make alot of money, they should be passionate about teaching the minds of the future. I work in the health care industry and I see it everyday, where I am, nurses make a pretty penny and they all decide they want to get into it because it is an "easy" four year degree that pays well. What then happens is we get nurses who can't stand their jobs and they give all nurses a bad name (to the patient who has to experiences them). Anyone can get any carreer they want if they are motivated with enough money, but that doesnt mean that is what they are best at doing.

    On another note, the rest of your ideas seem totally reasonable. They remind me of the documentary "Waiting for Superman". Anyway, I agree that education is what will make the world a better place, but I do not feel money is the way to motivate people to teach properly.
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      Jul 13 2011: $$$ is the motivator in the "US of A" circa 2011 - like it or not

      Nurses are a poor example (pay is way low)

      Brain Surgeons even better - lots and lots of $$$ - lots of schooling - lots of skill and you want the BEST to be tinkering with your brain - not someone fighting for 2 more days off and health benefits - but someone that loves what they do, and are the best of the best...

      Isn't THAT who we want working on our children's brains???

      Never did see that movie, but would like to
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        Jul 13 2011: I agree with Travis.

        Brain surgeons are a bad example because they go to school far longer than school teachers. Which should weed out the worst.

        Money is A motivator but not THE motivator, people who are working ONLY for the money are not who I want teaching.
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          Jul 16 2011: In essence because we do not take teaching as serious (not as much schooling) then it is not as serious... Not being serious about the profession is justification for it not being serious.

          No... if teaching was taken as seriously as brain surgery and there was as much (or close to it) in schooling required then by your own definition you would think it was as important.

          If the money was there, so would the schooling, the intensity, the competition, the talent, and the ultimate results... well taught kids
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        Jul 18 2011: It is unfair to assume the amount of time to earn a degree is how serious we should take the job.
        Lawyers spend years in school and years gaining experience, yet the ones who make frivolous lawsuits I certainly don't take seriously.
    • Jul 14 2011: Nurses may not make money$$ like a brain surgeon does, but it is an attainable career choice when someone is looking at the job with the most stability, guaranteed money. Unfortunately, like teaching- it is something you need to have a passion for otherwise it is bad for everyone. The job stability is actually becoming an incentive drawing people that are definitely not cut out for the work.
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    Jul 10 2011: Are investment bankers really our best and brightest. Seems like if they were they would have figured out to spot a bubble by now. Seeing what those fools did to the economy it's best we keep them from our children.
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      Jul 10 2011: Many of the best and brightest are attracted to where the money is... some go to investment banking and the average visit is 2-5 years, and then off to another adventure (so to speak)... the bankers left over aren't necessarily the best and the brightest... just the survivors (and whatever that takes).

      But certainly most of the people that are 'top of the class' or drawn to post-graduate study; their first pick is not teaching our kids & it should be.
  • Jul 9 2011: Instead of alluring the faculty, which results in false people claiming or fooling as if they have got real stuff, it could be altered a bit slightly from other context. we cannot bring all talented people into teaching profession by alluring huge salaries, so let everyone who has got stuff in his/her domain be shot as a video tutorial and let it be paid a huge some as a remuneration and let all these tutorials be aired as a television show on a 24*7 , television channel, which makes knowledge to reach every corner of the world as tv set is available at every individual home. And if one such initiative is taken along with govt, private operators will start airing television shows and they can pay more to these intelligent brains. This concept then leads to several channels with various domains.Exclusively science,computer science, every subject that current educational fields are being entitled in their curriculum.So this makes even the people who cannot afford a quality education in top most university,to avail the knowledge shared by the university professors through this medium.
    Alan ,
    I am not against your thought, what you suggested was also appropriate ,and that initiative from the govt perspective also boost people to enter into teaching domain.
    Thanks for your idea!
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      Jul 13 2011: you'll never get them all... but we need better than what we got

      I like the internet as a teaching tool