In thinking about this idea, I remembered back to being in a school when “Smart Boards” were starting to appear. I wasn’t sure whether this expensive, electronic board would help me be more effective in the classroom, and I went and observed a colleague using one with his students. I think that a Smart Board might enhance the work of a good teacher, but a Smart Board couldn’t ever make a bad teacher better.
I’ve watched a lot of change happen with technology in schools over the past twenty years, and while I do think that technology has a role in education and that it can enhance what teachers do, nothing can replace the work of a good teacher. Perhaps the key thing to keep in mind is that everything from technology to administrators and class size is only a way to enhance the work of teachers — and the critical things they do to educate kids — and that these other things are never an end onto themselves. I guess then the challenge is to find the people that can be superlative teachers, and maybe that’s more likely to happen if they are offered $125K.