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So, what can football teach us about education reform? I’d argue everything. In a recent Wall Street Journal article former NFL great Fran Tarkenton asks, “what if the NFL played by teachers’ rules?”
Thinking about this hypothetical situation it would be interesting to ponder such a world. Tarkenton writes:
“Imagine the National Football League in an alternate reality. Each player’s salary is based on how long he’s been in the league. It’s about tenure, not talent.”
An NFL without pay based on talent, what could possibly go wrong?
“The same scale is used for every player, no matter whether he’s an All-Pro quarterback or the last man on the roster. For every year a player’s been in the NFL, he gets a bump in pay. The only difference between Tom Brady and the worst player in the league is a few years of step increases.”
Wait what!? You’re telling me Tom Brady is less valuable then a washed up, no name, special team’s player on the Bengals (sorry Cincinnati)? Well, if the NFL was run by teachers unions, then that’s essentially what would happen. No matter how good you are you wouldn’t be rewarded. Your performance wouldn’t matter! Outside of the St. Louis Rams or Miami Dolphins very few people would approve of this happening to the NFL, but in Mr. Tarkenton’s alternative reality this would be the norm.
“Of course, a few wild-eyed reformers might suggest the whole system was broken and needed revamping to reward results, but the players union would refuse to budge and then demonize the reform advocates: They hate football. They hate the players. They hate the fans.”
In introducing this alternative reality for football Mr. Tarkenton shows just how out of bounds, (excuse the football reference) the education system is today. How on earth do we expect our teachers to succeed when success isn’t rewarded? Considering just how out of touch education unions are, it is good to know that people like Fran Tarkenton are looking out for the interests of those who matter most; our children. So, next time when watching your favorite team (for full disclosure I am a Philadelphia Eagles fan) imagine an NFL ran by teachers unions, it might just shock you! (Remember the XFL?)