Russ Walsh: “Reformers” Don’t Know What Motivates Teachers

Diane Ravitch's blog

Russ Walsh writes that corporate reformers have no idea what motivates teachers so they impose their own flawed ideas. Few have ever taught. They listen to economists, most of whom see education as an economic activity, not a humanistic activity.

First, they decided that the teacher is the most important determinant of student test scores (not true, the best predictor of student scores is family income and education). Then they decide that the best way to motivate teachers to work harder is to devise a system of rewards and punishments. Scores will rise, they reason, if teachers are threatened with loss of their careers.

But this is all wrong. Teachers are not motivated by carrots and sticks.

What motivates teachers?

Teachers are motivated by students.

“Nothing can motivate a teacher to be well-prepared and perform at peak ability more than the simple fact their will be 25 or so faces…

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