Bruce Baker brilliantly explains how absurd the reformy policies are in both Philadelphia and Tennessee.

In Philadelphia, teachers are being blamed for a massive deficit that was in fact caused by historic state budget cuts.

In Tennessee, the reform plan is to tie teachers’ licenses to test scores, even though only 1/3 teach tested subjects.

Baker explains:

“The true reformy brilliance here is that these changes, with little doubt, will cause the best teachers from around the region and even from Finland, Shanghai and Singapore to flock to Tennessee to teach…at least for as long as they don’t roll a 1 and lose their license (pack your dice!). In fact, it is a well understood reformy truth that the “best teachers” would be willing to take a much lower salary if they only knew they would be evaluated based on a highly unstable metric that is significantly beyond their direct control. That’s just the reformy truth! [a reformy truth commonly validated via survey questions of new teachers worded as “don’t you think great teachers should be rewarded?” and “Wouldn’t you rather be a teacher in a system that rewards great teachers?”]

“No money needed here. Salaries… not a problem. Resource-Free Reformyness solves all!

“All that aside, what do we know about the great state of Tennessee?

“Tennessee is persistently among the lowest spending states in the country on its public education system.

“Tennessee is not only one of the lowest spenders, but Tennessee spends less as a share of gross state product than most other states.

“Tennessee has one of the largest income gaps between public school enrolled and private school enrolled children, and has among the higher shares of private school enrolled children.

“Tennessee has relatively non-competitive teacher wages with respect to non-teacher wages.”

Let see if Tennessee races to the top as it sheds teachers.