Pay New Teachers MORE Than Old Teachers?!

Scrap the Sacrosanct Salary Schedule : Education Next.

A couple of key notes.

  • First, the fact that not many in America jump up at salespeople and other performance jobs getting performance-based pay.
  • Second, the reference that there is at best a weak effect between credentials and effectiveness. There is also an effect of experience in the classroom (seniority)  that disappears after the first few years.
  • The author proposes we simply take an intermediate step of NOT paying for seniority or meaningless credentials, reallocating these funds to starting salaries and such.

Let me first say that whenever I hear teachers unions and “old hands” being against merit pay, it always has seemed like they’re scared–of losing their pay and even their jobs. Don’t get me wrong–the excuse generally given is absolutely valid: evaluation-based pay could easily be subject to favoritism and politics, and I certainly don’t give our nation’s school administration enough credit to think they’d all be above that.

But do we think that would be the norm? One would hope that the system would not be taken advantage  of  so either because we [American society, specifically school administrators] are generally moral and honest people or because it would be more trouble than it was worth to the administrator’s who would take advantage.

Unfortunately, unions leadership and even membership is heavily skewed towards teachers with better seniority, so they of course advocate for things that benefit them–and who would blame them? It’s the same idea of why so little (yes, I said little) education funding is available to states and schools–most voters are senior citizens with students out of public school already, so why waste money on something that many don’t believe affect them anymore?

Yet at the same time, isn’t this akin to board members voting to increase their pay (or the cause of an even bigger potential outcry: senators proposing to raise their own pay when the country is becoming broke)? There’s a definite moral issue here but few [of the normal US electorate] are up in arms about it

What I found really interesting was the coherent idea of ignoring pointless certificates. This money could again, relocate to needed area like base starting teacher salary. There would also be great side-effects: fewer teachers going through the motions of such a program would leave more time to themselves, and it would save a bit of administrative costs.

Hm, I just nodded off for a moment so I’m going to bed now and will finish this post and muse on the week on Thursday and Friday.


One Response to Pay New Teachers MORE Than Old Teachers?!

  1. Tony says:

    Brian you need to sleep more probably man. Nodding off at your computer!?

    1) Are the certificates administered by unions? If so then yes definitely start ignoring them. If not then isn’t there some merit to certificates? Sort of like the Series 7 exam I’m going to have to take in a few months – making sure everyone has a base level of competency in whatever they are doing.

    2) You say unions are dominated by older teachers. This means all we have to do is wait for their generations to retire! If it’s not politically feasible to block out their seniority-clamoring then just prevent younger teachers from joining unions and wait it out. Might have quite a few years though.


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