My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Biden's Incoherence On Education Reveals Much About the Left 

From the transcript of last Thursday's Democratic debate:

Note: I'm going to "embed" my commentary within Biden's response (there's too much there to save it all for the end)

BLITZER: I want to move on to the next question, but I want Senator Biden to weigh in, because I know your wife is a teacher, so go ahead. Should an excellent teacher be given merit pay?

BIDEN: An excellent teacher should be judged by whether or not that teacher outside of the classroom improves themselves and their teaching skills. Pray, do tell, Senator, how--precisely--is a teacher to be judged on the improvement of their teaching skills OUTSIDE of the classroom? Should Jay Cutler's quarterbacking skills be judged by the amount of time he spends in film study? Of course not--there is a difference between the acquisition of new tools and the demonstrated ability to use those tools.

My wife got two master's degrees and a doctorate degree. That's merit pay. Huh? So your wife has bought/earned herself three extra degrees, for which she gets pretty well compensated--how is that merit? HOW does that demonstrate that she is a better or worse teacher than the kid fresh out of college with a million ideas and passion? She went out there and she earned the ability to be able to demonstrate to everyone that she was an exceptional teacher, because she went out and she gathered this additional knowledge, instead of being -- not just being a good teacher. Again, HUH?? She "earned the ability to be able to demonstrate . . ." Maybe, just for grins, she ought to just be an effective teacher.

Here's the problem with simple merit pay, based on the principle. Who makes the decision, based on merit pay?(APPLAUSE)

Who is the person who...(APPLAUSE)
I believe there should be teaching excellence. I think we should demand more of our teachers in continuing education. But that's not teaching excellence. Excellent teaching is done from the front of the classroom, not from a desk. I think there should -- and unions don't like that.

I think there should be -- demand more of the teachers, in terms of the participation after school and in school.(APPLAUSE)

But I think you've got to pay them.And the last point I'll make is, Bill is correct. You have to -- look, the idea you start teachers at $28,000, in most states, where, in the countries we're competing with, they start off and they graduate their -- the graduating seniors are getting the same pay that engineers are getting in those same schools. And here's a thought, Senator--do those same engineers only get additonal pay when they take more classes? Or do they get a pay raise when they build a better engine . . .or whatever?

There's the essential incoherence of the Left--any demonstrable skill, aptitude, talent or accomplishment is valueless. One can only be valued for the choices and attitudes they possess which align to the orthodoxy.

As if to make the point, Hillary underscored that.

Well, I support school-based merit pay for a lot of the reasons Chris was talking about. We need to get more teachers to go into hard-to-serve areas. We've got to get them into underserved urban areas, underserved rural areas.

See, it's not about what they accomplish or waht they inspire their students to accomplish--it's about the choices they make.

How else can one explain that Hillary and Obama are at the top of the Democratic heap?

This is an important difference between the two parties, and it's one that cuts to the advantage of our side. . .

if we have the means and the will to highlight it.

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