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Bring accountability to education

| Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Some members of Congress want to give bonuses to teachers who raise student achievement. The nation's largest teachers union, recently gathered for its confab in Philadelphia, responds with blunt skepticism.

Such is the disconnect between federal meddlers -- whose idea of an "initiative" is to throw money at the day's cause celebre -- and the National Education Association, whose socialist underpinnings preclude recognition of those most worthy at the detriment of the truly worthless.

First, Congress doesn't need to prime the pump, given what already gushes from taxpayers' pockets to public school teachers. In Pennsylvania, the average teacher salary (the ninth highest in the nation) is more than $53,000 (2004-2005). The state's median household income in 2004 was $43,714, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

And what has this bought the commonwealth• More teacher strikes than any other state.

What's needed is not more carrot -- for simply doing the job that's expected -- but more "stick." Specifically, better accountability, which is achievable through school choice.

Competition for school dollars, put in the hands of parents instead of educrats, will reward the competent and weed out incompetents.

All teachers are equal• We think not.

A Congress willing to pay more for mediocrity, and a union that endeavors to protect the mediocre, never will achieve excellence in education.

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