Top Teachers Ineffective

Yesterday I reported that top med school docs are no healthier for patients.  Today I report that even at private schools, teachers who are fully certified do not help students perform any better on math and science tests: 

Data from the National Education Longitudinal Survey of 1988 (NELS:88) were used to investigate the effect of teacher licensure status on private school students’ 12th grade math and science test scores. This data includes schooling and family background information on students that can be linked to employment information on teachers. We find that, contrary to conventional wisdom, private school students of fully certified 12th grade math and science teachers do not appear to outperform students of private school teachers who are not fully certified.

My urban econ text says:

Studies have consistently shown that graduate coursework (e.g., a Master’s degree) does not affect teacher productivity.

I expect patients are willing to pay more for top med school docs, and parents are willing to pay more for educated and certified teachers.  And I expect that this would continue even if patients and parents knew the above results.  I suspect most of the demand for teachers, doctors, and many other professionals comes from folks wanting to affiliate with certified-as-impressive people.  And merely making patients healthier or making students perform better doesn’t count much toward impressiveness, relative to academia-certified impressiveness.   

But folks don’t like to admit this directly; they’d rather pretend they care more than they do about other outputs.  Which is why folks don’t want to hear about the above results.  The media will oblige them, and so they will continue in their preferred delusions.  Bet on it. 

Added: James Hubbard points us to a related critique of MBA training.

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