Creeping Incrementalism

Harriet testified against HB 2190 as follows:
To: House and Senate Education Committee Members
From: Malcolm Kirkpatrick
In re: HB 2190

Please DO NOT support HB 2190

The Teacher Standards Board (TSB) has advanced useless, contradictory, counter-productive, and expensive teacher license requirements. This Board, as constituted, places the HSTA and HGEA in a serious conflict of interest as regards the HSTA's responsibility to represent teachers in disputes with the DOE administration. The enabling legislation which created this Board should be repealed, this Board abolished, and teacher employment decisions made at the school level.

Eric Hanushek on teacher quality...
"(T)eacher quality appears to be unrelated to advanced degrees or certification..."

As a Brookings Institute study of teacher quality notes
According to recent evidence, certification of teachers bears little relationship to teacher effectiveness (measured by impacts on student achievement). There are effective certified teachers and there are ineffective certified teachers; similarly, there are effective uncertified teachers and ineffective uncertified teachers. The differences between the stronger teachers and the weaker teachers only become clear once teachers have been in the classroom for a couple of years.
Please read Matthew Ladner (Jay Greene's blog) on the Brookings study of teacher quality.

The Hawaii Teacher Standards Board testified in favor of salary enhancements for teachers who have attained certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Abundant statistical empirical research finds no support fo this policy.
The Education Consumers Consultants Network compared the academic improvement of Tennessee students taught by nationally-certified teachers with the improvement of all other students in the state. The data revealed that "on the whole, the students taught by NBPTS-certified teachers gained no more than their local peers".

This shouldn't be a surprise. NBPTS certification is really just ordinary certification on steroids -- a puffed-up assessment of teachers' mastery of conventional certification standards. Considering the large body of research finding almost no correlation between certification and teacher effectiveness, it makes sense to expect no correlation between "super-certification" and student performance. What one should expect is proportionately inflated rhetoric about the value of the certification, which is exactly what one finds.

Michael Podgursky, "Defrocking the National Board", commenting on the study "The Certification System of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards: A Construct and Validity Study", by Lloyd Bond, Richard Jaeger, Tracy Smith, John Hattie:...
No study, however, has ever shown that National Board certified teachers are any better than other teachers at raising student achievement
The State Auditor (Hawaii Reporter, 2009-03-02) wrote:
Seven years after assuming the licensing function, the board has neither an effective initial or renewal licensing program in place. The board exceeded its authority in extending licenses beyond the original authorization. It has been granting license extensions rather than renewing licenses beyond the two years set by the 2001 Legislature.
Harriet predicted this years ago: "The Cost of Teacher Certification" (Hawaii Reporter, 2004-03-12).

Abundant evidence supports the following generalizations:
1) As policy makers move control over the choice of curriculum and the pace and method of instruction away from individual parents to remote authorities, overall system performance falls.
2) Political control of school harms most the children of the least politically adept parents.
In consequence, States with numerous small school districts achieve higher performance at lower cost than States which enroll a large percentage of the student population in a few large districts. In general, local control of school yields higher performance, lower rates of juvenile crime, and lower per pupil cost. The Hawaii Teacher Standards Board enhances centralized control at the expense of students, parents, real classroom teachers, and taxpayers.

Please DO NOT support HB2190.

Thank you for your time.
Harriet apologized. Repeal was not on the committee's agenda.

The Bill would make small changes to the operations of the TSB. As Harriet noted in ad lib remarks, the Bill would move policy two inches East while the testimony above recommends a move ten miles West. Once the Legislature creates a program, opposition to incremental changes to the program takes the form of opposition to change: as assent to the status quo. Hence the title to this post. From its inception, the TSB has grown by small steps in the direction of enhanced control over DOE teachers by their union. Hearings on incremental changes to existing legislation provide the only venue for opposition to a program in place.

Here, markets in education services again offer an enormous advantage. Just as people vary in their preference for some goods over others, different levels of risk over others, differnt allocations of time to work and leisure, different rates at which they discount time ("live for today" versus "take care of the long term and the short term will take care of itself"), people differe in the magnitude of change in policy they will accept. "There are too many 'r's in 'revolution'." Some parents might prefer a different text for Alg. II, while some parents might prefer a self-paced Math curiculum which does not separate Algebra, Analytic Geometry, Set Theory, and Logic. In an institutional environment which featured numerous small school districts or a competitive market in education services, parents could shift from one school to an incrementally preferable school or select an entirely different method of teacher selection.

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