Years ago, talking with a public school teacher friend of mine at the end of the school year, she told me how excited she was about her impending orca whale watching outings in the San Juan Islands. Not only would it be a blast, but it would count as a continuing education credit (toward a master’s of education degree, as I recall) that would boost her salary substantially.
Normally, I bite my tongue in such situations. But before I could stop myself I blurted out the question: “Is watching whales going to make you a better teacher?”
The lack of any relationship between education master’s degrees and student achievement is acknowledged in a recent study from the Center for American Progress by Marguerite Roza and Raegen Miller. In fact, Roza and Miller find that states waste $8.6 billion every year paying for master’s degrees that do nothing to improve student performance. Ironically, the state that offers the highest wage bump to teachers who obtain an M. Ed. ($10,777) is my home state of Washington.
Watching whales may not do much for your students, but it does wonders for your pocketbook. (HT: Joanne Jacobs)