My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Education Reform That Matters, part V 

Destroy the Teachers' Salary Scale

Here comes the most controversal idea I have to propose to reform American public education.

The way schools are run now, a teacher can go online to a school district's website long before they ever even submit a job application, and see exactly how much they will be paid in salary. They can go down the page and see how much they'll make every year they survive after that; they can go to the right on the page and see how much of a raise they'll get for every 15 or 20 semester hours of college work completed.

And nowhere on the scale is there any consideration of the quility with which they do their jobs.

If you want to improve education, you MUST improve teaching. Study after study has shown that THE number one factor affecting student performance is the quality of teaching. And, from experience, I can tell you that you can train teachers to a point--but if you really want to improve the quality of teaching you have to attract more quality people to become teachers.

But there are a huge number of quality people who look at that same salary scale I mentioned earlier, and say to themselves "I can't raise a family on THAT!", and stay out of teaching. Then there are those who get into teaching and decide that, for the work it requires, it's not worth the money.

But, hey, how about that prestige and universal respect?

Hah Hah Hah . . . whew, I crack me up.

I believe that quality people would be more attracted to the teaching profession if they believed that the quality of the work they do mattered, and that they would be rewarded for it. As it is now, a 25-year veteran who's just marking time until retirement probably makes twice as much as the fresh young teacher full of passion and drive. Does that make any sens at all?

Teachers should be in a position to negotiate their salaries with their school on their own. Great teachers who continually have students who make more than one years' progress in their classrooms should be the subject of intense manhunts resulting in 6-figure salaries. Teachers marking time should do nothing more salary-wise than "mark time", also.

Football has collective bargaining for benefits and labor practices, but the individual players negotiate their salaries on their own. Teachers should be in the same position.

Are there logistical hurdles to such a setup? Of course.

But if you begin with the premise that not all teachers are equal, and that we, as a society or as a school, VALUE the work that teachers do, than this becomes a more realistic idea.

Would unions hate this? Of course. Would school disticts hate this? Probably--it might end up being more expensive for them.

Would society benefit? I believe so.

And then it would merely require schools to budget and to make the case to their fans that it might be worth a few more tax dollars' to get an education worthy of America.

Based largely on the free market principals that made this country great.

How's that for radical?

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