What if Ed Schools charged "finders fees?"

I mentioned this in my last post, and wanted to build on it. TFA charges districts about $4,000 per teacher. My friend Dev runs a company called Carney Sandoe, which supplies teachers to independent schools. They also charge about $4,000. If an Ed School succeeded in generating unusually effective teachers, I suggest they charge districts who hired their teachers.

In the comments section, Randall raises an important concern.

I think your idea is a totally plausible one–even a likely one. But I think it could be a really scary one, too. The problem is that school districts don’t compete on a level playing field…even with Title I funds and the like, there’s just a lot more money in suburban districts. Could Lynn afford to offer the same bonuses as Brookline or Newton? I think you could end up putting deans and profs in real conflict-of-interest situations, particularly if their program has a commitment to social justice, in which they’re tempted to steer their best graduates to the most affluent schools. In which case, we’d only be reinforcing the same problem that we’ve been up against for a very long time…the best students, in the best schools, ending up with the best teachers. Not sure I trust the market to resolve this one unless we level the playing field a little bit first.

Fair point. Two thoughts.

1. Ed Schools could respond with heavy discounts for high-poverty, low-resource districts. Or discounts for whatever aligned with its institutional goals, social justice or otherwise.

For example, many Ed School folks have long pointed accusingly to how schools treat rookie teachers. As in: badly. Usually rookies get the same load, or even a harder load (more preps, plus implied need to create new curriculum from scratch), than a veteran teacher. We're generally guilty of that in our own charter school (though we offer all teachers a lot more help than most schools).

Well, what if Ed School X offers your district a $2,000 discount on the $4,000 placement fee if you cut the rookie teaching load from 4 classes per day to 3? Or if you offered some other specific form of support to rookie teachers (like 3 hours per week of mentor time). If a particular Ed School can succeed in creating a hot market for their alums, then it would be in the position to do more to help those alums.

2. In many states you're right that suburbs spend more than nearby high-poverty communities (whether cities or rural areas). However, the opposite is frequently true here in Massachusetts.

Boston, for example, spends 17k per kid per year, to 15k in Brookline and Newton.

Swampscott, Lynnfield, Salem, Peabody, and Saugus are the 5 communities abutting Lynn. They spend 12k, 10k, 14k, 12k, and 11k per kid per year; compared to Lynn's 13k as a district serving kids from poor families.

Ironic. Kozol is perhaps the #1 taught author in Ed Schools. His argument (that the evil suburbanites spend tons on schools while segregated urban kids get bupkus) is largely inaccurate in Massachusetts...where he lives.