The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries – how can I disagree with this?

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. And when recruiting is down, we offer incentives.

We have a rare chance now, with many teachers near retirement, to prove we’re serious about education. The first step is to make the teaching profession more attractive to college graduates.

I really can’t disagree. I think they are right on. Of course, this is not a plan, it’s a dream. For dreams to come true, one needs a plan and some luck.

I’ve always cringed at hearing that teachers don’t make enough. They do make more than many other college graduates and in some areas they do quite well when considering benefits. The real problem is not that teachers don’t make enough across the board, it’s that they don’t make enough in certain areas. This is a funding issue that is largely cause by the ways that schools are funded across the country. Schools in wealthy areas pay quite well, maybe not enough for the teachers to live in the town, but still quite well.

I am excited about the idea of making teaching more competitive. The recent teacher crunch has done this to the small degree. There are more teachers than there are jobs, which is good for recruiting (not so good for recent graduates). Next step is to increase pay at least 50% and, at the same time, devise assessments that are difficult enough to filter (yes, many good teachers may be filtered out this way, but it is still far better than hoping the best show up). Set conditions in which becoming a teacher is competitive.

I do find it kind of interesting that the author starts out with a call not to blame teachers and then essentially states that we need better teachers. Huh?

One thought on “The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries – how can I disagree with this?”

  1. Yep..at least the good parts 😉 I’m a huge critic of the current funding models. If we truly wanted to provide equitable schooling, would we be giving some schools $5,000/student and others many times as much? It’s pure silliness and it has harmed the education system and the country.While Kozol focused quite a bit on race, it’s much bigger than that. It is a war on the lower and middle classes, not to mention the rural (which are usually in one of those two categories). In this scenario, I’d say that Freire holds more sway. Society itself is focused on subduing and harnessing the lower classes and nobody within the system is innocent. Unfortunately, the only way that Freire saw to alleviate this problem was through the kind of education that we can’t provide anymore. Ugh! don’t get me started.

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