The teachers unions’ guild system must be abolished

In a jab at Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is said to soon be requiring that all free schools and academies hire teachers with officially approved teacher qualifications. Mr Clegg shouldn’t be blamed for aiming to make sure that all English pupils have access to good educators. And surely, teachers who have undergone officially approved training must be better than those who haven’t? It sounds so right. But it’s not. In fact, it’s utterly and completely wrong.

Few dispute that good teachers are crucial for pupil performance, both in the short and in the long run. At the same time, better-educated pupils commit fewer crimes, and contribute more to economic growth, so good educators are clearly also crucial for producing positive spill-over effects that benefit society at large. This means that the public does indeed have an interest in ensuring a good teacher force.

Yet after decades of research we have little understanding of what makes educators effective. Observable characteristics, including teacher qualifications, generally have no or very small effects. This is a remarkably consistent finding in most rigorous studies worldwide. If there’s anything research in the economics of education has disproved, it’s the theory that teachers with specific qualifications perform better than those without. Most people might also find this intuitive since practically everybody has probably experienced good unqualified teachers and bad qualified ones (and vice versa).

But doesn’t this mean that a mandate requiring all educators to undergo officially approved training at the very least wouldn’t do any harm? Well, no it doesn’t. Since such a mandate ensures that many perfectly good educators – perhaps better than those holding teacher qualifications – can’t enter the market, we would instead perpetuate a system that does nothing to improve the overall teacher pool. This is not in the best interest of children.

Continue reading here.

This article originally appeared in The Telegraph.

1 thought on “The teachers unions’ guild system must be abolished”

  1. Posted 11/05/2015 at 14:25 | Permalink

    Perhaps teacher qualifications often seem to have no effect on education because of the education required for the qualifications. In the U.S. I think in my teacher education programs it is understood anyone who pays tuition passes. Education departments are held in contempt. They contribute little. It is true education does not produce intelligence or empathy, important qualities for a teacher. Sahlgren is just another obsessive compulsive with paranoid and sadistic tendencies just as Friedman was. He want to boss, have the foot on the neck, promote inequality. We don’t live for the self aggrandizement of the entrepreneur, the hero, the man out there against all odds, hustle a buick Joe and mark up Jack.

    I am a clinical psychologist and college teacher now retired and engaged in writing. See my book Economics as a Symptom of Sadsim

Comments are closed.