October 26, 2009

Article: Experiment on teacher pay
Source: Marginal Revolution

Performance-based pay has long been heralded as the solution to the poor quality of education that permeates US-based primary education schools.  These educational institutions – elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools – significantly lack quality when compared to other similar schools in other countries.  Standardized exams prove this.  The question, then, is: how can we improve those primary education institutions?

The model, it’s often argued, is to copy the strategy that US-based institutions of higher education follow, since these institutions are better than any other in the world.  Professors of higher education (colleges, universities, trade schools, etc.) get paid better than teachers at primary education institutions.  Simple.  The article by Marginal Revolution (above) proves that incentive-based teaching works, at least in their sample size (India).

But, it’s not really that simple.  While student performance may have increased in the study done in India, what about the general trajectory of the teaching profession?  That’s the other side of the equation, isn’t it?

Teaching was once considered an art of passion.  Teachers were required to have a passion for teaching, a love for knowledge, and an addiction to spreading that knowledge to the coming generations.  Will incentive-based pay transform a profession of passion into a profession void of passion?  Or, is incentive-based pay the correct solution to turning around the downward spiral of the quality of education in US primary schools?

Passion, defined!

March 1, 2008

Download Article: Ram Charan’s strange existence
Source: David Whitford, Fortune Magazine

At $20,000 for a day’s worth of consulting, Ram Charan can easily afford a house. But he never bought one until last year. Why? Because he spends 365 days on the road (if you think that’s an exaggeration, read the article).

He’s one of the highest paid consultants alive. The top brass (CEOs, CFOs, etc.) of GE, Verizon, Citicorp, DuPont, Intel, and a countless number of other Fortune 500 firms rely on him to solve their complex problems. And he does it in one sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper.

His two assistants ship him clean clothes, underwear, socks, toothpaste, shampoo and everything he needs to survive. Shipments go directly to the musical chair worth of hotel rooms he visits. He ships his dirty laundry back to his assistants to wash.

It wouldn’t hurt to imbibe even 1% of the passion this man exudes.