Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Raise Teacher Pay?

By Mallory Widell
I read this article in the New York Times last week about why we should pay teachers more.  And I completely agree. The writer mentions that almost half of American teachers come from the bottom one-third of their class, as opposed to teachers in Singapore, South Korea and Finland.  In those three countries, teachers actually come from the top one-third of their class and are paid much better than U.S. teachers.

Of course, there are also brilliant teachers in the United States, but there are too few of them these days, especially in public schools, where the pay is often not as good as it is in private schools.  And some people who go into the profession of teaching are not that concerned about the welfare of children and may enter the field mainly for the benefits or some other reason, as we discussed in one of the D.C. Reads seminars.

In the film Waiting for Superman, I learned that simply pouring money into schools is not always the most effective way to increase student achievement. Only slightly positive correlations have been found between state funding for schools and test scores. It's no secret that running a school is expensive and that most of the money used for schools goes towards necessities, including paying the salaries of faculty and staff. But maybe we should put even more of that money toward teachers' salaries.  This may help improve society's perception of teachers and hopefully attract those from the top of their class to the profession.

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