Sunday, May 01, 2011

Teachers Need To Be Paid More

Can you spot all the fallacies in just the opening lines of this article?
WHEN we don’t get the results we want in our military endeavors, we don’t blame the soldiers. We don’t say, “It’s these lazy soldiers and their bloated benefits plans! That’s why we haven’t done better in Afghanistan!” No, if the results aren’t there, we blame the planners. We blame the generals, the secretary of defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff. No one contemplates blaming the men and women fighting every day in the trenches for little pay and scant recognition.

And yet in education we do just that. When we don’t like the way our students score on international standardized tests, we blame the teachers. When we don’t like the way particular schools perform, we blame the teachers and restrict their resources.

Compare this with our approach to our military: when results on the ground are not what we hoped, we think of ways to better support soldiers. We try to give them better tools, better weapons, better protection, better training.

OK, that was too easy--but there are just so many fish in this barrel. How about this one?
At the moment, the average teacher’s pay is on par with that of a toll taker or bartender. Teachers make 14 percent less than professionals in other occupations that require similar levels of education. In real terms, teachers’ salaries have declined for 30 years. The average starting salary is $39,000; the average ending salary — after 25 years in the profession — is $67,000. This prices teachers out of home ownership in 32 metropolitan areas, and makes raising a family on one salary near impossible.

So how do teachers cope?

When teacher unionism took off 40 years ago, two of the things teachers complained most about were low pay and large class sizes. How has 40 years of unionism helped the situation? (Answer: it obviously hasn't.)
The consulting firm McKinsey recently examined how we might attract and retain a talented teaching force. The study compared the treatment of teachers here and in the three countries that perform best on standardized tests: Finland, Singapore and South Korea.

Turns out these countries have an entirely different approach to the profession. First, the governments in these countries recruit top graduates to the profession. (We don’t.) In Finland and Singapore they pay for training. (We don’t.) In terms of purchasing power, South Korea pays teachers on average 250 percent of what we do.

And most of all, they trust their teachers.

Just curious: how militant are the teachers unions in these countries? How political are they?

There's a lot wrong with the linked article, the demonstrated bias being just the tip of the iceberg.


mrelliott said...

When asked why the teachers constantly get blamed for lack of student achievement, a friend of mine use to always say, "Because they can." The director of our library overheard the principal say to a meeting of community business people, that the reason the students were not achieving is because the teachers were not doing what they were suppose to be doing. Time and time again the teaching profession gets thrown under the bus. The reason?

It takes the spotlight off of ineffective administration!!

Pay? Some, and only some states in the US need to pay their teachers better. Others pay quite well. Now, pay needs to be associated with quality of teaching rather than time spent in the classroom. The way most salary schedules work, the highest pay goes to those teachers who are at the end of their career, and...IMHO...these can be the laziest, worst teachers out there, and it's not right.

Trust? Respect? Treated as professionals? I'm sorry what is that? I've been in teaching so long, I'm unsure.

I don't know who or what did it, but the teaching profession got offered up as the sacrificial lamb for the education system woes, and teacher's images are in the toilet, along with any respect and dignity there was.

Anonymous said...

I want to know where you are getting 39,000 as a starting salary! 67,000 after 25 years! where are you? the starting salary for my mother was 25,000. and after thirty years she was making 32,000 a year.