Monday, August 27, 2012

Marketing Education Reform

The one segment of education reform that seems to always outshine the others is marketing.   I continue to be amazed at just how good we are at it.  When Walmart and other corporate reformers announced their teachers rock campaign, I expected that Americans would greet it with the same  suspicion they would regard Chick-fil-a sponsoring a gay pride parade.   Boy, was I wrong.  They ate it up.  In Chicago, corporate reformers have been battling the Chicago Teachers Union for awhile now and branding their message to appear to be grassroots.  This is great stuff as seen in this whiny CTU video:

In trying to do our part, we focused groups several key education reform concepts and found we were starting to get a lot of push back as these issues become more prominent.  However, we found a way to make them much more palatable.  We call the results Reform Catz and we present a half dozen here suitable for sharing with even the most hard core opponent to reform.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

More on Using Loss Aversion with Teachers

In the movie Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese gave a good demonstration on how you could use loss aversion to run a business.   The idea is, giving somebody something and then threatening to take it away if certain goals aren't met is far more effective than just promising people something if they meet those goals.  For teachers, this has obvious implication for merit pay schemes where teachers are handsomely rewarded at the beginning of the year, but then forced to give the money back if their students do not achieve on standardized tests.

Loss aversion sounds like a new principle in economics, but it is actually quite old and only appears revolutionary when it is applied to education reform.  One way that employers have successfully used loss aversion is by having corporately run cities like Hershey, PA or the Pullman District of Chicago.   By making employees shop at a company store, you could guarantee that employees would do all they could to keep the boss happy.   Can't we do something like that with school supplies?   Teachers sure buy enough.  You were grading papers all weekend? F you.  Pay me.  Your class is upset because a classmate was shot? F you. Pay me.  Your class is all made up of children living in poverty? F you.  Pay me.