The No Child Left Behind law says underprivileged and minority kids should not have a larger share of teachers who are unqualified, inexperienced or teaching unfamiliar topics.
It puts the responsibility on states to figure out how to do that.
There's a solution to this, of course, but the unions would be against it. It would amount to "combat pay". The socialist teachers unions, which always want more money for all members and not just specific ones, just don't want to admit that money motivates. Money talks, b.s. walks.
AND, perhaps teachers in those schools could pay MORE in union dues because, teaching in "those" schools, those teachers will undoubtedly run into more contract issues for the union to deal with ?
I don't follow the logic that working in those schools necessarily would incur more contract violations. More difficult students, perhaps, and that's the reason for the combat pay.
But since local dues are based on a percentage of pay (at least they are in my district), such teachers would pay more in union dues anyway.
I think paying more for teachers in schools in tough areas makes sense. I have a good reputation in my school, but I doubt that I could be successful in a typical inner-city school. That takes a special person with skills that I don't think I've got. I think that any reasonable union would go along with this. (If you respond to that, I can't wait to read what you have to say about the term "any reasonable union.") It seems to me that unions object anytime there is a proposal to pay somebody LESS, rather than more. I am, however, from a different part of the country than you.
By the way Darren, I've started to read NYC Educator's stuff, and I'm glad I have. I commented on one of your posts earlier that I was somewhere in the middle of the political spectrum, but after regularly reading your posts, I began to wonder if I was actually a liberal. You should be happy to know that reading NYC Educator's stuff has cured me of that concern. For some reason, I don't think you two would get along very well.
If you really want to stir up a hornet's nest of amature psychiatrists, try floating a proposal to put the jobs up for bid on Ebay.
Since the pay of a teacher is unrelated to the teacher's competence, being a subject of negotiations carried out at fairly long intervals, there's no way to know what it'll take to attract avaricious teachers. You don't want to pay too much - I know, I know, a contradiction in terms - that would be squandering taxpayer's money. You don't want to pay too little, you won't attract the teachers you think "combat pay" is supposed to attract. It seems to me that the best way to come up with a fair bonus for working in nasty schools is to see what it's worth to the people who'll do the job. Hence, Ebay.
Of course, there has to be a way to "close the loop" in engineer-speak; some way to weed out the the teachers who are only interested in the fatter pay check and hang on to the good teachers who will accept the discomfort of working in lousy schools with poor kids if properly compensated. Anyone want to chime in with an idea to handle that problem?
If it was all the fault of the unions, why don't you see "combat pay" in states like North Carolina, which do not have a teacher's union?
I have taught in both middle/upper class schools and lower SES/multi-cultural schools and by far, it is so much easier to teach where there are parents you can reach, who speak your language, where kids have food in their homes and the electricity is turned on......I could go on and on. I have always said teachers should be paid more if they work in schools with a challenging population.
Dennis, I'm pained and overjoyed at the same time. Pained, because you don't seem to think I could get along with NYC Educator. I mean, some of my best friends are liberals! Here's the deal: I think liberals are wrong, they think conservatives are evil. Who is the more tolerant? They hate it when I bring that up because they know they think we're evil.
I'm overjoyed because you've seen the light. Keep in mind that anywhere else in the country besides California, I'd be considered a RINO. I consort with known homosexuals, I don't go to church at all (although I believe the tenets of Christianity), and I think freedom of religion allows us to live according to the Bible as individuals but shouldn't require us to live that way as a society. I used to be not-so-big-a-fan of the 2nd Amendment, but reading conservative blogs has cured me of that--but I still see no problem with waiting times and registration. I'm a big fan of this president's Global War on Terror but think the TSA and Dept of Homeland Security are two cruel jokes.
But I'm glad to have you as a reader of this blog, that's for sure!
Allen, I like the way you think! Now that, my readers, is thinking outside the box!
Oh and Dennis, a few years ago during the last so-called teacher shortage there was a suggestion that algebra teachers here in California should get paid more than others so that we could attract more algebra teachers blah blah blah. The unions went nuts.
Mr. R, good point. I don't know how contracts are settled in other states so I cannot answer you question. I assume, though, that districts don't want to pay more to anyone, or they'd have to admit they have more money that could be paid for salaries for everyone.
Anonymous, I, too, have worked in low SES schools and upper middle class schools. You're right, it's much easier to teach in the more affluent schools, despite the pushier parents.
There is an interesting dilemma setting up in Texas regarding this situation. On the one hand,you have some very active Hispanic parents that want their children taught by Spanish speakers despite the fact that the TAKS test is in English. Many of these primarily Hispanic schools are in poorer neighborhoods. Ironically, Dallas ISD moved experienced long time teachers with track records of student improvement from these schools because they were not Hispanic and hired teachers, some from Mexico and other countries, to fill those spots. So if we offer higher pay to inner city schools, do we open up the jobs to everyone, or just to those that the parents deem fit to teach? On the other hand, if the teachers hired recently and who are Alternatively Certified through outside programs, fail to create a situation for better test scores and fulfillment of AYP, will the be subject to the same criteria? And if these kids fail time and again, despite the raise offered, is it the fault of the teachers, the kids, or the parents that demanded change? I know it's harder to teach in lower socio-economic areas, and I realize that the community support often isn't there, so I do support stipends for those who teach there, but I am puzzled that when we are struggling to keep experienced teachers that we would remove them from classes where they have succeeded and replaced them with teachers that are an unknown commodity at this point. Shouldn't we have gotten away from the concept of "my kid must be taught by someone that looks just like him?" I never asked for my children to be moved from a classroom based on the ethnicity of a teacher. Isn't that just a little bit racist?
Yes, EllenK, it *is* racist.
I don't support compelling anyone to teach anywhere. Pay them, and they will come.
There are schools that have turned around thier high risk, low income populations through various innovative programs. These schools should provide models for all struggling districts to follow. Throwing money at people and programs rarely works without first establishing a proven model to follow. Teacher salaries are far too narrow a parameter to ensure success. There needs to be a comprehensive plan first. As in the real world, the reward should follow success. I would not advocate higher salaries, but rather bonuses based on results. Knowing there is a reward for hard work is a motivating factor.
Anonymous, I agree with you.
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