Sunday, October 24, 2010

Prices on Professorships

Putting a Price on Professorships:
Full article found here:

The issues of teachers being graded and paid on performance has been on my brain lately.  There have been a few examples in the news lately that I've noticed.  Most notably Gov. Chris Christy of New Jersey going against the teachers union on the issue (

Why is this such a big deal to people?  Why shouldn't teachers be graded on their performance and paid accordingly?  Why should education be seen as exempt from normal practices?

The original article of this post was in regard to professors "profitability" for their respective universities  Awesome idea if you ask me.  Why?  I'm not totally sure why I like the idea so much, other then it is more knowledge about the situation, and allows companies er colleges to make wise decisions.  Some oppose the idea though:
"This new emphasis has raised hackles in academia. Some professors express deep concern that the focus on serving student "customers" and delivering value to taxpayers will turn public colleges into factories. "

Why are students not considered customers by academia?  Why should academia  be above the law in how they treat their consumers?  Why the snobbery so commonly seen?

Is there a fundamental problem with colleges being run as corporations?  If they were to be run as a business then teaching is the primary revenue generation, with research and (hopefully) resulting royalties providing additional income?  Why is this considered such a sin?  Really, I went to PSU and graduated because I desired the education, I paid/invested in it as a long term product I would use for the rest of my life, I was the consumer in the equation, and could have left or stop supporting the business at any time

Thoughts?  Why would a corporate model not work?  Research is motivated to find and develop products or knowledge, so colleges would continue to fund it (much like GE, P&G and General Mills do to develop knowledge)

What do you think?  What objections are their from outside academia?  What comments are their from inside academia?  What do you think of your education and how it might have been affected if a corporate model was employed?


  1. huh I'd never thought of students and costumers... That's a great way of putting it. Probably everyone has been trained to think otherwise though.

  2. I think of students as customers every day because I tutor by the hour. That is more the customer feel than teaching in a classroom. I have to tow the mark in my teaching. I have to make a difference and make it fast. The parents of the kids I tutor want to see marked improvement and they want it instantly! Why shouldn't the classroom teacher have to measure up? Why shouldn't they be held accountable?

    This summer a Vietnamese mother basically fired me after 6 hours with her first grade son. Why? Because she wanted him reading "big words and not all those little ones". I tried to explain that the ability to read the English language rests largly on the ability to decode small words and understand the vowels and patterns. It meant nothing to her since she couldnt read English and could barely speak it.

    What would happen of the public school teachers were fired because their students couldn't read "big words". In today's schools I'm afraid that would amount to a lot of fired educators!

    I think teachers should be held accountable and the fact that they have been able to hide behind the unions and lurk in the shadowy halls of acadamia without accountability just galls me.

    Come out in the light! See what you can do when you are exposed for the educator that you are! I have to measure up every day so they should too!!

    On the other hand, dear so called teacher, continue to do the job you are doing lest I find myself without a job!

  3. Oh yes, one more thing, at the college level there is even less accountability in my opinion. I had college professors that tested you on the book but never cracked a book the entire time! I could have taught myself...and I did for about a third of my undergrad credits. I did them by telecourse. I didn't have more than an 8th grade education and I could do the same thing on my own as I did with them. That's right! I never went to high school. Didn't need to. I knew more at 13 than public school kids knew at 18. That's because my grade school teachers in that little one room school house did their job, bless their pointy spectacles!

  4. And yes, I know there are sentence fragments in the comment above. It's intended for effect! Im big on effect, you know!

  5. Why do we even have unions? I understand at the time of the industrial revolution that the workers were faced with horrible working conditions and wages. But do we really need them now?

    Now, take a look at what happens if Company A talks with company B about setting a price 15% above the fair price. This is known as price fixing and they can get into big trouble. So, why is it different for labor? A union is basically a giant price setting organization.

    So why can't a teacher negotiate their own salary and price. If the laws of economics hold true, then a school will be willing to pay a higher price for a teacher that does a better job. If you have a terrible teacher the school will be inclined to fire them our reduce their "Price" based on their performance. When hiding under the protection of a union, a worked has no incentive to go above and beyond since there are no instant benefits compared to working for a non-union company. Look at Wal-mart. They aren't union, yet they have one of the fastest growing companies on the market. (P.s. A lot of people hate walmart for the anti-union stance but they are able to hire more employees since they have less overhead and they treat their employees decently. Why would Wal-Mart have greeters if they really cared on keeping their costs down?)

    By the way Scott I think that your points are right on track.