Fran Tarkenton, former NFL quarterback, evokes an “alternative reality” where a football player’s salary is based on how many years he’s played and “the only difference between Tom Brady and the worst player in the league is a few years of step increases.”
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the NFL in this alternate reality is the real -life American public education system. Teachers’ salaries have no relation to whether teachers are actually good at their job—excellence isn’t rewarded, and neither is extra effort. Pay is almost solely determined by how many years they’ve been teaching. That’s it. After a teacher earns tenure, which is often essentially automatic, firing him or her becomes almost impossible, no matter how bad the performance might be. And if you criticize the system, you’re demonized for hating teachers and not believing in our nation’s children.