AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

01 December 2011

Overhaul.


Alex Tabarrok, professor at economics at George Mason University, says that only one thing will provide an edge: innovation. In response, Tabarrok has come up with a plan to launch a new “Innovation Renaissance,” powered by such diverse elements as patent reform and an educational overhaul.

From his TED.com interview ...

What else can be done to spur innovation?

The most important is education. Consider the following: A typical worker will work for about 30 years, most US workers are educated in public schools, and a majority of GDP is worker compensation. So even a small improvement in education benefits a lot of workers for a long period of time. In this way even a small improvement in education can create trillions of dollars worth of value. It’s hard to think of another policy where small changes can be worth trillions of dollars.

But improving education isn’t easy. Many have tried and failed.

Getting better teachers into the classroom is incredibly important. It’s interesting to me that this approach is neither a left- nor right-wing approach. In contrast with many pundits on the right, though, I think cutting teacher salaries is nuts. We should pay teachers more, perhaps even a lot more if this means we can improve teacher quality. In contrast with many on the left, however, I think we need to test teachers in a better way and to use that information in hiring, firing, pay, promotion and training decisions. We do almost none of that now, and that is a scandal.

Read the rest at TED.

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