Educational Editorial: Human Capital

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A recent national report titled "Taking Human Capital Seriously" challenges us to look at the people in education.

Leaders from teacher organizations, now critical of the report, as well as the Gov of MN and a host of public and private luminaries note, "Too often the 'people side' of education are overlooked." What a notion in a labor-intensive environment!

The premise of the report is that human capital should be used strategically -- meaning that the people, practices, and products of an organization should all be aligned.

Teachers should be held to common professional standards -- you need to know your content and how to teach -- but the pool should be much bigger than traditional teacher preparation programs.

There should be multiple routes to certification. Virginia once had a math teacher of the year who was on the faculty of a private school and could not be hired by a public school because he did not have a certificate. While this is changing, we must also give school leaders the will and the way to take the risk to hire best candidates.

The report also suggests that the standards for promotion and tenure must be raised. In reality, a property right in a job should come with a high price, if the right should exist at all.

Finally, the report includes the recommendation that teachers and administrators should be rewarded for performance that is based on student achievement. While difficult, this is an idea that has growing support. Years ago I read an article entitled, "What we owe children: The subordination of teaching to learning." Now that makes sense!

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