a) It's easier to hire good teachers if you can fire bad ones. Competent people want to work for competent organizations. Which offer would you be more likely to take: "Come work for our school district. We weed out the deadwood and we're doing a great job preparing our kids," Or "Come work for our district and spend your life beating your head against a bureaucratic wall." Yes, teachers should be paid more--but it's weird that an idealistic liberal would think good candidates are only motivated by money. (And if you could fire bad and mediocre teachers then school districts wouldn't have to spend a big chunk of any pay raise boosting the salaries of ... bad and mediocre teachers).
b) You obviously want to do both-- weed out bad old teachers and expand the pool of potential good new teachers by allowing certification of people who haven't met the mindless credential requirements fiercely defended by the unions.** Yglesias conveniently pretends you can only do the former after the latter--"if" in the "future," after a couple of more generations have sloughed through mediocre or criminally lousy schools, we've managed to amass a huge pool of "tons" of people trying to break into teaching, then it "might" make sense to take on the union protection of incompetents. "Might." That's good of him!
c) Of course, if Yglesias shies from a confrontation now--by kicking the can off to some distant "future," and then only maybe--he'll shy from the confrontation ten years from now. Paul Glastris, in a recent bloggingheads debate on Yglesias' post, unexpectedly blurted out the real reason Dems like him don't want to confront the unions, no matter how sound and obvious the policy reasons for doing so.
**--as a means of protecting their members from uncredentialed hires who would do a better job! 1:53 A.M. link
Thursday, February 22, 2007
DownHill Racing: My impression is that David Geffen isn't furious at Bill Clinton for not pardoning Leonard Peltier. He's furious at Bill Clinton for lying about whether he was going to pardon Leonard Peltier--at least that's what I think Geffen would say. ... P.S.: The pros think Hillary won the Geffen fight. I'm not so sure. By striking back so quickly when a non-candidate makes an obvious anti-Clinton point, does she discourage further attacks or encourage them? I'd say the latter. Everyone loves a target who cries in pain every time it's hit. Anyway, the clear winner in the incident was TimesSelect. [Update: Or not! ] ... P.P.S.: Larry Johnson has a good question for Obama, though--just to see how he'd handle it. ...3:57 P.M. link
Don't look now: The much-derided right-wing comedy show 1/2 Hour News Hour was a ratings hit for FOX. ... 1:21 A.M.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
It's dangerous to spot trends in Rasmussen robo-polls that Rasmussen himself doesn't even highlight--but hasn't Obama cut Hillary's lead from 16 points to 4 points in about two weeks? The Hillary Announcement Bump would seem to have dissipated. ... P.S.: I forgot. She's inevitable. Sorry. ... 2:08 A.M.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Explainer Please! Rudy Giuliani "is happy to participate in a receiving-line style photo opportunity as compared to a snake line." [E.A.] What's the difference? What if the receiving line starts, you know, snaking a bit? ... P.S.: Maybe I'm a jaded Hollywood type, but Giuliani's demands don't seem that diva-ish. He only requires one (1) SUV. He apparently allows eye contact! He doesn't even ask for a fruit basket. ... 2:21 P.M.
TODAY IN SLATE
Smash and Grab
Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?
Even When They Go to College, the Poor Sometimes Stay Poor
Here’s Just How Far a Southern Woman May Have to Drive to Get an Abortion
The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented
Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy
It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?
Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada
An All-Female Mission to Mars
As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.