Phi Beta Cons

The Best Teachers Need Not Apply

The CATO Institute recently sponsored a forum on teacher quality, wherein one side argued that the market should drive the hiring of teachers and the other that the present system can be fixed through internal structural change. Particularly disheartening and not widely known was an observation by the astute Marie Gryphon, Director of Educational Programs at the Institute for Humane Studies. As reported in Accuracy in Media, Gryphon said it is untrue:

that there are too few willing teachers in America…the United States actually has a surplus in the applicant pool. However, due to perverse hiring practices of principals and school administrators, the most capable applicants are not hired. For example, “Applicants with high test scores are actually a little less likely to be hired than their counterparts with lower scores.” Moreover, applicants who “majored in math and science are less likely to receive job offers than applicants who majored in education.”

Gryphon, in my view, won the day. No system handicapped by its leaders so intractably – in ways guaranteed to sabotage quality of teaching – can be salvaged. This revelation of twisted hiring practices is yet another powerful argument for full-blown school choice.