Frances Wooley blames a decline in teacher quality on improved career opportunities for women. One problem I have with is evidence is that it is all in terms of inputs rather than outputs. Ezra Klein similarly blames the high career prospects of those natives fluent in English for the dearth of English teachers in China. We should expect this shortage to result in high wages & employment, but apparently education majors have among the dimmest career prospects. Conditions are still pretty good for law professors despite the low returns to most of their graduates (my sister is among those underemployed lawyers). Fat chance of landing one of those cushy tenured gigs though.

Without any coordination (or perhaps it’s just secret?) agnostic suggests that teachers rather than businessmen will carry out the “Atlas Shrugged” scenario. Rather than the normal economic issue, he centers the discussion around NAMs and our wrong-headed education policies regarding them. This anonymous teacher agrees that’s the big issue in eduwonk circles and that dissenters from orthodoxy are cast out. The classic nightmare scenario that would drive the most saintly teacher away is How I Joined Teach for America—and Got Sued for $20 Million. I think we overrate the extent to which education is about education rather than babysitting, so I don’t know how much effect a different grade of teacher will change things. Another perspective is that the only important matter when it comes to educational outcomes is the student input. John Derbyshire agrees with Robert Weissberg that there is really no demand among students (or their parents) for better education. Like Ilkka, I invite you to contrast that take with “The Lottery“. I agree with the latter that there is substantial revealed preference to the contrary of the Derb’s take, though again I don’t know to what extent that results in better education or just a more tolerable place to be stuck 7 hours a day.

If that’s not enough edutalk, Diane Ravitch has an EconTalk podcast with Russ Roberts about here new book. Stuart Buck in turn has extensive criticism of her.

TANGENTIALLY RELATED UPDATE: Do colleges discriminate against Arab applicants? I hadn’t heard that before.

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