And now, a good word for teachers

The flip side of the union coin is that teachers spend way too much time dealing with red tape. The bureaucracy that has grown up around schools as we expect them to fit in teaching around social work and performing investigations for the DEA, is ridiculous. This is true at the school level as well; teachers and principals need a great deal more flexibility to manage problem children than they currently have. I see the bureaucracy and the increasingly inflexible union work rules as part of the same process: teachers hampered by rules demand more rules of their own, which makes the administration want more rules to curtail the power of the teachers . . . the system worked a lot better when schools were both more flexible, and more accountable.

Nor will miracle teachers make up for the deficits of deprived homes. Teachers in inner city schools are dealing with marginalized kids, many of whom have parents who can't or won't cope. This is the hardest teaching their is, and it's no wonder so many give up. Especially since we can't take the obvious step of paying them more and the bureaucracy less.

I don't agree with Phillip Howard on everything, but in this I think he's right: the vast tangle of rules we've erected to ensure that our public servants don't ever make a mistake has instead ensured that they never get to do anything quite right.