Raise Teachers’ Salaries

Most of the economic stimulus money earmarked for schools should go to increase educators’ pay. Pro or con?

Pro: Higher Salaries Mean Higher Learning

Research confirms that teachers are crucially important to students’ success, yet such subject areas as math, science, and foreign languages suffer severe, long-term teacher shortages. Few would dispute that the very large salary differential between teaching and private sector work in these fields—and perceptions of teaching as a low-status profession—dissuade talented and committed individuals from entering or remaining in the teaching profession.

Improving teacher quality and alleviating shortages require a comprehensive approach to educator talent management. Salary compensation is the only critical element that cannot be addressed without substantial additional funding.

In the McKinsey & Company report “How the World’s Best School Systems Come Out on Top,” high beginning teacher salaries were among the chief factors that differentiated top-performing school systems from their less effective counterparts.

We support using stimulus dollars to raise teacher salaries, particularly for beginning teachers and second-stage professionals with 4 years to 10 years of experience. Each of these groups is likely to consider turning to a different career. Higher salaries should be accompanied by stricter tenure rules, which would in turn justify higher pay for veteran teachers.

Competition in today’s global economy requires that U.S. children embrace rather than shy away from science, math, and foreign languages. By investing stimulus dollars to attract and retain teachers, we can ensure that American students emerge prepared to create innovations that further stimulate our economy for years to come.

Con: Don’t Boost Teacher Pay Blindly

While we can all agree that many highly qualified teachers deserve higher salaries, simply raising pay won’t fix our schools.

More money could make a difference only if carefully targeted. Higher salaries could enlarge the pool of applicants so that schools can choose teachers more carefully. They could also reduce teacher turnover, which would benefit students. But if stimulus funds simply increase salaries without changes in who is hired or how they teach, these revenues will be wasted.

Improving the quality of teaching requires more than higher salaries. Vision and leadership from administrators is crucial. Professional development of the right kind—not Friday afternoon, one-shot workshops—is always necessary. The cooperation of teachers is central, and it cannot simply be bought. More conceptual, innovative, or “balanced” instruction is also important to enhancing learning.

To improve schools, we need to invest in other resources that matter. Some are compound resources: smaller classes and the professional development that enables educators to teach them differently, with adequate facilities that include computers and support for teachers to use them well. Others are complex, such as strong leadership and new approaches to instruction. Still others are abstract and again, impossible to buy—including school climate, student motivation, trust within schools, and the coherence of the curriculum.

There’s no substitute for thinking hard about which school resources are most effective, and what money can and cannot buy. The “money myth”—that more money, including higher teacher salaries, will solve our schooling problems—is too simple.

Opinions and conclusions expressed in the BusinessWeek Debate Room do not necessarily reflect the views of BusinessWeek, BusinessWeek.com, or The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Reader Comments

Winston

I've done payroll deduction savings for teachers from K-12 through college. I have seen hundreds of teacher pay stubs over the years.

They make big bucks here in California. Don't let anyone fool you. The unions make it their business to make you think they are broke. My guess is the majority of teachers in California make $70,000 to $80,000 for nine months of work. Not bad.

At California State University, an adjunct instructor makes $3,150 per month per semester to teach one class. This according to "Faculty Affairs." I couldn't figure out what a Princeton, Ph.D. of economics was doing teaching at a junior college--five classes. He's in the big time for bucks.

Dante

The papers just did a report on New York City teachers. Apparently, they get paid $140,000 for nine months of work and are still clamoring for a 7% increase. And have you seen some of the imbeciles churned out by New York City schools? Time to put merit pay in place.

Gimme a BREAK

They're treated as though they were something one stepped in, with rotten kids, spoiled parents (with vermin attorneys), politically protected administrators all ranking higher on the food chain. Then, you pay them almost nothing, give them zero authority, no backup, no support, and you demand that they turn your lump of coal (because BW wouldn't print what we know they are) into diamonds among diamonds. Teachers, help us out. Why do you do it?

Kim Glowacki

Teachers are losing jobs at this point, because the money is not there to pay them due to the economy. Seventy teachers in my county are now displaced. The plan is to once again expand class sizes. Instead of a raise, maybe the money needs to go toward hiring back the jobless teachers.

Jake

Fourteen years ago, I went to Cleveland Public Schools. Because of my experience, I have to say that teachers are collectively the biggest scums in America.

Anne

Most teachers would agree to less pay with more job security, better benefits, smaller class size, adequate materials and facilities, and being permitted to do what they were trained to do and teach, using up to date, proven methods, instead of being forced to jump through whatever hoops various politicians and pressure groups have devised for them.

Shorts-R-Us

My wife is a non-union first grade teacher here in South Texas, and her gross is $30,000. She goes in 7:30 a.m. and comes out at 5:30 p.m., putting in that extra effort for her students, but not only that--she has tons of paperwork that needs to be filled out each day. I always tell her, why don't you go back to school and become a nurse? Her reply is if you're teaching for the money, you shouldn't be teaching at all.

JB

The money should be spent on perfecting Internet-based education. It is criminal for people to spend $100,000 for a basic four-year degree that gives you the prospects for a $30,000 a year job. Most of the undergraduate studies are taught by teaching assistants or in a large impersonal classroom. May as well do it online and come out debt free.

ilana

Teachers makes a lot more for their nine months of work than many other professionals. Union has fooled us by not mentioning teachers' benefits and real pay. In this economy crisis, if teachers have not got the salary cut back, they should not ask for a raise. They should be happy with it.

random

"The papers just did a report on New York City teachers. Apparently, they get paid $140,000 for nine months of work and are still clamoring for a 7% increase."

That could be because $140,000 in New York City is the equivalent of $40,000 elsewhere. It's one of the most expensive cities in the world, so don't let the big numbers fool you. I'd also like to ask what papers and where they got their stats. After all, when reporting statistics, one must always know where exactly they came from.

"And have you seen some of the imbeciles churned out by New York City schools?"

No, I haven't, though I'm sure there are plenty of people who went through schooling in New York City and are none too bright for it. There are people like this in other cities, including mine and every city in the world with a school system. Some people just don't want to study, don't want to learn, and don't care. Not even the world's best teachers could make many of those people take their schoolwork seriously.

They would also need to get a handle on parents who use their weight and authority to get grades changed or to demonize the teachers so they don't have to admit that Jimmy or Suzy are slackers who just plain don't get it.

Prashant Bele

Teachers are responsible for molding the very innocent mind of a kid at a very young age. It is as good as nurturing the plant at early stages. Doing the right thing at early stage ensures greater probability of success on the career and mind development of a pupil at later stage. If this individual, who is responsible for the basic training and development, is not paid well, then it is natural to see resentment. It is therefore important to hike the pay. From the responsibility point of view, it should be noted that more than four hours' time is spent by a pupil with the teacher. Aren't we handing over a good amount of responsibility to teachers?

Also, these pay hikes should be linked with agreed-upon performance measures that can not be manipulated by the teachers. This will ensure the justification of the hike in pay.

Large classroom size is a 100% wrong approach. At an early stage, the grasping power is slow for human beings. Personal attention is required. As the child develops further, he or she can understand things on its own.

Hugo van Randwyck

The pros and cons didn't say how much teachers were earning and what they ought to be paid. Teaching--good teaching--is essential for a healthy society, and they ought to be paid well. It's all part of, what can you do with the budget you have? Maybe a formula--teachers ought to be paid a minimum of two or more times average salary? Maybe if schools were run similarly to before, e.g. blackboard, chalk, text books, teachers teach, and children learn discipline, that would make things easier and save money. Also maybe remove fluorescent lighting; it apparently has harmful effects. Google "fluorescent lighting spectrum missing school."

Frank

I work in Wichita, Kansas, and I make money equivalent to an aircraft worker. With 20 years in the business and three degrees, I feel I am adequately paid. All of the problems in education come from the "victim" society that political correctness created. Our students mock the idea of authority. Gangs run the underbelly of education. The quickest fix is to reinstate the draft, give students a reason to succeed they can understand: Graduate and go to college or drop out and go to Afghanistan.

Barb Tarwater

For a person outside of education, "merit pay" or "pay for performance" may sound fair and logical. Implementation is not fair or simple. How do you measure the effectiveness of teachers in band and vocal music, physical education, foreign language, guidance counselors, industrial technology, family and consumer science, or teacher librarians? Is it possible to be fair in evaluating teachers when one has 12 students and an ample budget, but another teacher has 35 students and must spend her own money to get supplies? What about the teacher who starts the year with 25 students and finishes the year with 25 students but none of the original 25 are in the class at the end of the year? Will a teacher share a really great teaching idea with her colleges if it might mean less money for her and more for her colleges? What do tests tell us about learning? Are any tests good enough to truly evaluate what a student has learned?

If our pay depends on a test, we will teach to the test. (If a person in business has two projects to complete and their boss says that one is important to him, will you spend most of your time on the other project?) Teaching to the test means less innovation and experimentation. Curriculum becomes stagnant. Students become less engaged. Who decides? There are many effective teaching methods. The same method that works well in one class is not necessarily what works well in another class. Teaching is an art as well as a science. If the evaluator likes one teacher more than another because they are golf buddies or they go to the same church or their kids are in the same Boy Scout pack, who can say how much it will influence the evaluator's decision? There are more problems with merit pay, but I think this sample will illustrate my point. No fair method has been devised to administer merit pay.

MC

I think maybe a smart thing to do is to ask teachers what they need to do their jobs well. Call me crazy. I know job security is said to be an issue here. Most people, if not all, do not have job security. How do you plan for the future in that situation?

Paul

The top salary for a New York City public school teacher with 22 years experience and a masters degree plus 30 credits above the masters is currently $100,000. This is not the salary of a wealthy person, but middle class in New York City. I work hard for that money and the teaching career has not always been easy. My official hours in the school represent only part of the time I put into the job. Also, the cost of living in New York City is much higher than many other parts of the country. The quote of $140,000 by reader "Dante" is a total lie.

Dan

Teachers have failed American kids with less then half in some schools reading at grade level. Never have so many failed so much, complained so much and at the same time asked for more money. Unions have ruined the school systems. Every school teacher should work for a private company for one year and I bet they never complain again.

dave

If any of you think that teachers only work nine months, you are living in the dark ages. Teachers work approximately 190 to 200 days a year. Let's look at this. If you work for a company, you get two weeks of paid vacation and 13 paid holidays. That works out to 237 days of work. That's just a starting schedule. If you've been at a company for awhile, you may have up to six weeks vacation which means you would only be working 220 days a year--only four weeks more than a teacher. You would get to choose your vacation days; teachers don't. You might get a bonus; teachers don't. You might have comp time; teachers don't. I am so tired of hearing the nine-month argument. The math is not that hard.

chelau

This is a misleading question.

Teaching, as a profession, has been underpaid for many years. The importance of teachers to our society doesn't measure up with the amount that they are paid, leading to the profession not attracting the best talent. So in that sense, yes it is good to raise the salaries of educators.

However, if the question is whether raising the pay for teachers is good for the economic crisis we are in, the answer is a simple no. Only part of salary increases will go into consumption to spur economic demand, and that increase in consumption would not put a dent in the downturn. Instead, money that is used to for construction--say building or renovating facilities--would make a far greater impact on the economy by putting otherwise out of work people--particularly construction people that were employed previously in the housing market and now laid off--to work. That would spur consumption much more than raising teacher salaries. So in that sense, no, raising teachers salaries would not be good because it misses the point of fiscal stimulus.

Jeff B

First, we need to do a much better job of holding teachers accountable for results. Then, we can pay the best ones more money (and get rid of the poor ones). Of course, in states like New Jersey, where the teachers' union has become like the mafia and owns our legislature, this will never happen. And, I have yet to hear anyone explain how any stimulus money going to schools is going to stimulate anything? This is all about Democratic payback to their campaign donors--pure and simple. It will stimulate nothing.

Roger

I came to the teaching profession after 20 years in the "real" world. Determining a formula for compensating teachers is a difficult one. Unlike the business world, we do not have any control over the "raw materials" we have to work with. We can't "fire" students who have no interest in learning or effectively making the parents of those students exert pressure on them to improve performance. If we could create an educational environment that simulated the real world, we would deny cafeteria privileges for those students who make no effort in class. With the cooperation of the parents, those same students would be forced to find somewhere to sleep other than in their heated homes and apartments, protected from the elements. We, as teachers, are limited in what we can do. We keep trying new strategies based upon the latest research. But in the end, the parents and students must make the effort.

Back to the conversation on teacher pay. I say boost the salaries for those who are underpaid. Typically this would be those who work in rural areas of the country and sometimes includes teachers in urban/suburban areas. For those who get paid well, relative to the cost of living in their particular geographic area, there is no need to increase their salaries. Fortunately, being a resident of suburban Philadelphia, I am one of them.

Joe

I am not against increasing teacher salaries, but we should not expect higher teacher salaries to produce better students. If you want better students, you have to start at home. Parents who care = better students. Parents who value education = better students. Parents who take an active role in their child's education = better students. These are all free. Unfortunately, the U.S. has too many parents who do not fit into any one of the above categories.

I don't care how much money you give teachers, if the kid shows up with six hours of sleep and no breakfast, there's not much chance he is going to learn.

Ellen B.

The average teacher salary across the U.S. is $39,686 for elementary schools and $41,573 for secondary schools. Whether this is "enough" or not depends on the cost of living where you live, whether you're just out of college or about to retire, whether you are a single earner raising children, or a double-earner without children, and what types of jobs and salaries your friends have.

But the simple laws of supply and demand say that--if you are concerned that there are not enough high-quality teachers out there--the answer is not to make the profession worse by lowering pay. The answer is to make teaching more attractive (through pay and other changes) to top-notch people who are currently on the fence about whether or not to be teachers.

This requires long-term thinking, which is appropriate for this long-term problem.

While teachers aren't "in it for the money," nobody argues that teachers should be unpaid volunteers. This is because it is obvious that there aren't enough top people who would volunteer for such a tough job. Similarly, there just aren't enough top-notch people who would work such a tough job for what they see as low pay compared to their other options.

Dante

To "Random": I can't remember exactly which paper I read that stated $140,000 for teachers in New York, because I read a lot of news as part of my job. But a simple Google search of New York teacher salary in the news yielded several results, one of which is: http://www.newsday.com/news/opinion/ny-lireax016062274mar08,0,7950519.story

fj

To "Random": I can't remember exactly which paper I read that stated $140,000 for teachers in New York, because "Research confirms that teachers are crucially important to students’ success, yet such subject areas as math, science, and foreign languages suffer severe, long-term teacher shortages."

Well, it is pretty obvious that math and science teachers at the middle school level and above should be well qualified and have a passion for math and science--this means a math/science/engineering degree or equivalent. Simple supply-demand economics indicates that qualified math/science teachers cost more than English/history majors.

When evaluating teacher compensation, look at all benefits including excellent family health insurance and generous retirement pensions. Teachers/retired teachers' health insurance covers many self employed spouses--big benefit.

Ayres Cayo

I agree with Obama--"Spend more money to get better teachers." Obviously, decrypted means, fire all the miscreants we have now and get some better ones.

Richard in Cincinnati

In moderately priced Cincinnati, an experienced teacher at highly ranked Walnut Hills High School can make about $60,000, summer off (mostly), of course. New teachers, no matter how dedicated, make barely a living wage from what I understand.

While I appreciate the teacher's unions for keeping quality high, they are slow in punishing, or firing, bad teachers, but that is true for doctors, lawyers, etc., too.

I think we need about 10,000 to 12,000 tutors, or helpers, for high school kids in a region this size (1.5 million). Many of us have lots of education, experience from raising kids, and can assist or guide kids at this critical time. Tutors can be a sympathetic ear or see talents that teachers don't have time for. If we keep kids in school, they are far less likely to go into crime (and the expensive police, court, and jail system), more likely to be better educated, and become productive taxpayers.

It's in our interest to put maximum effort into high schools, especially the ones that need help.

If we keep them interested in high school, they probably will not only graduate but also may become life-long learners, the ultimate goal for a rapidly changing world.

To keep them interested, we need to get rid of classes that are not necessary and in fact discourage kids. Just 10% to 20% need or want advanced math or science;, the rest will be unlikely to ever use chemistry, etc. (let's be honest).
That means smaller and better classes for those science and math kids, making those teachers better and happier.
It also frees up time for things all kids should know, like credit scores, mortgages, investing, saving, and basic home and car maintenance, but mainly money. Kids will rarely miss a class on that has something to do with money.

I used to sell mortgages and it was amazing how rather educated, even experienced people often did not know important aspects to this common investment (or the problems, leaks, etc. that can cost a fortune). And I never used any advanced math for that or any other job. Same for most of my friends, including some very successful ones.

Quentin

Ms. Laine makes a strong argument. I would tend to agree that teachers need compensation commensurate with their responsibility. If the education sector wants to attract the brightest minds, it should have the ability to compensate them properly. No one is suggesting that this be done blindly, but if we want our children to be properly prepared for the challenges that lie ahead, we'd better sufficiently pay the people that will prepare them.

Erika Tran

My husband works in the housing industry, and I am a teacher. My husband just sold a home to a manger at Arbys that makes $60,000, and I have been a teacher for 11 years and make $50,000. I also have a BA in elementary education with a double minor in German and ESL. I have a masters in language education and a license in administration. There is truly something wrong. I welcome more dollars.

jon

Dave, I'm sorry, but if you think that working 190 days of the year is typical in the U.S., then you have been a teacher too long. I worked as a reporter for 12 years. I never received more than two weeks vacation in that time. I have been a teacher now for seven years. I have never had less than three and a half months off during the year. (Summer vacation, plus spring break, Christmas break, holidays., etc.)

I am not paid particularly well, but I never complain. I am a tenured state employee with a great pension (a pension), fantastic health benefits, and plenty of time off. My salary isn't great, but the benefits--financial and otherwise--are incredible.

Jeff

Teacher pay has many variables. To get a clear picture, let's just look at starting pay first. In wealthy, public school districts, teachers can expect to start out making somewhere between $32,000 and $45,000 with a bachelor degree and no experience for 180 to 190 work days. This range of pay can go down as low as the $25,000 range for starting jobs in poor and/or rural districts. Then, we have to look at the starting pay at charter and private schools. Generally, starting pay is several thousand dollars lower at these schools when compared to the public schools in the same area of the country. Most school districts then increase pay as teachers rack up years of experience and/or professional development/college course credits. Generally, on average, teachers can expect to gain 1,000 to 3,000 more each year in their salary. Currently, I sit right in the middle. I am a public school teacher in the state of Ohio with 10 years of experience and a masters degree. I currently work 189 school days, and my base salary is $55,000. I am happy with my pay. However, starting pay in my district is currently $32,000 if you start with a bachelor, or $34,000 if you start with a masters. This is within a few thousand dollars of the national average. Generally, starting pay for educators is too low. To draw the brightest and best, the starting salary needs to increase even if that means more modest yearly increases.

Dante' lies

http://www.aft.org/salary/2007/download/SalarySurvey-NY.pdf

To Dante, someone who: "because I read a lot of news as part of my job."

Surely you do not think that a proposed top scale salary is the equivalent of all teachers making this kind of money.

Please go to the survey link and do some rethinking first. Then, if you have really done some thinking, rephrase your opinion.

ashley

Let's see. My wife is a third-grade teacher with a master's degree in education. She brings home $2,000 per month. I hold the insurance with my job. She has 10 years of experience. Her student loans will be paid off in 20 years at $200 a month. I got laid off from my tech job, and it costs $700 a month for insurance through her school for our family. That brings her pay check to $1,300 a month. And can anybody with a straight face tell me teachers in Texas are paid well? Don't make me laugh.

Robert

A nation rises or falls, depending on how it nurtures and builds up its next generation. When teachers are treated shabbily, and when we value entertainers more than our teachers, then sooner rather than later the nation will slip as it is slipping now. The truth hurts, but better now than its too late.

Strategery

A couple of posters pointed out the problems with our education system. It is not the teachers or a lack of funding. It is parents who do not do their job and do not provide their children with a safe place to live and nutritious food. Sorry to say it, but we should look at who is having babies (hint: it's not successful middle class households). Perhaps birth control and information should be made available to those who are unfit to be parents? Salaries for teachers should be based on performance--but are adequate overall if you consider the number of days that teachers actually work (they can recycle material year after year if they teach the same class), benefits, job security, etc. Salaries for college professors are out of control, as evidenced in the double-digit inflation rate of higher education.

Dante

To the "teacher" who is rightfully ashamed to use his/her own handle or name who lies. Here's a simple math: If the proposal is $145,000 after a 3% raise. Than divide $145,000 by 1.03, and that will yield you a current pay of $140,700. This simple math that you appear to have great difficulty in grasping points out why our kids are graduating with little knowledge. Like I stated: time to implement merit pay for teachers. And based on the teachers' responses here, time to implement standardized testing of teachers, too. Teachers have been good at politicizing their "plight" and pulling on the heart strings. But as to delivering on teaching? That remains to be seen. Especially with the ones on this board.

Brar

Raising or not a teacher's salary or spending more on education would have little or no effect on students performance. Why? Because a student and beneficiaries of his/her performance are not enrolled into this process. Unless parents of the student are firmly behind him or her to ensure they not just pass high school but also excel in university/college, there is no way to see the change. Case in point, how much do you think schools spend on teachers or students in India or equivalent other country? Yet look at their presence in professional world. So my friends, money won't solve the problem.

Mom in Fresno

Teacher's pay varies across the country. I have spoken to teachers in Texas, Minnesota, and other states who are barely able to get by. Some even leave the occupation for better pay.

California does pay their teachers well. Partly because a large portion of the state is considered to be a high cost of living. While I wish there was a way to pay teachers based on merit or performance, it's not possible. You could be the best teacher in the world, but your variables suck. You can't make a student or parent care, especially in lower income areas. My husband loves what he does and puts in a lot of his own free time to make himself better at what he does. He gives the kids 200%. But if his pay were to be based on whether or not all his kids based the PFT or not, I'd be a little irritated. You can't make someone run, you can't make them do situps, pushups, or pull ups. This is not limited to low income children.

Dante--I don't know if your $140,000 salary quote is correct, and I don't have the time to look it up. However, every public schools certificated salary schedule is available to the public. I encourage you to validate what you read in the paper with what you can find online regarding New York City salary schedules.

Mom in Fresno

Dante,

This is taken straight from the web site www.schools.nyc.gov.

Salaries are based on prior teaching experience as well as undergraduate and graduate degrees. As of May 2008, starting teacher salaries range from $45,530 (bachelor's degree, no prior teaching experience) to $74,796 (master's degree, eight years teaching experience). Teachers who already have a master's degree but no teaching experience will start at $51,425.

With annual increases plus increases for additional coursework, teachers' salaries will rise to the current maximum of $100,049 per year over time.

According to this, the maximum is $100,049. This is a far cry from 140,000.

John

Just remember, our first teachers are our parents. The saying "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree" is most often true for a reason.

We don't have children for the purposes of letting a government program (i.e. schools) raise them.

If you want to see progress in your children, look no further than your own self as a parent.

Accountability is backward here in the U.S. In Japan, the tests mean something for students, and it is up to the parents and students to do well to gain entry to their universities.

Teachers can't do it all.

We live in an imperfect world where it costs up to 7 times as much to incarcerate an inmate than to educate a child.

As for merit pay, it's an imperfect joke and anyone who falls into the fallacy that merit pay will solve all our youths' problems is delusional.

Let's pay everyone on merit where it doesn't make sense. Here's a satire on No Child Left Behind.
http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/no-dentist.html

We're educating brains, which are far more complex than anything that science has made to date. When we can make children into robots, then we might be able to make merit pay work.

Teaching is more art than science and always will be.

tom

Privatize the schools into charters, private and parochial. Limit government to setting standards and auditing compliance.

Dante

To "Mom from Fresno": Ah, I did. And I had posted a link. The editors here deemed it appropriate to edit out the link. And apparently that teacher on the board here who doesn't understand math had also looked at that link. That was why it was raving mad even though it had no understanding of the math on that proposal/union contract. I sincerely hope that that "teacher" is a gym teacher. Otherwise, I grieve for our children.

Robert

Oh give me a break already. Regardless of what you may believe, teachers are one of the most secure and highest paid professions in the U.S. Sure you may read "evidence" of low pay here or there, but the data is almost always skewed as it profiles secondary, substitute, and a myriad of other sub-professions referred to as "teacher." Actual teachers make at minimum $40,000, with collegiate professors taking home up to $200,000 and some even more. The ugly truth of the matter, the one never reported on in the media, is our schools are falling apart because it's the teachers that are bleeding the system dry with their insatiable greed. Yes, let's give our teachers yet another pay hike while our schools crumble to dust. This country sure has its priorities in order, doesn't it?

Peter

The economic stimulus money should be used to create jobs, not give raises to people who already have a job.

foilman

No matter how much money you give the schools, it's never enough for them. They're too heavy with administrative positions.

Mom in Fresno

Dante,
We shouldn't believe everything we read in the news media. I am sure you know this since you spend a large amount of your day reading (I am guessing for your occupation). The maximum pay for a New York City teacher is basically $100,500. That is after 20 years, that is with a master's degree, that is taking extra course work such as summer school and after school sessions. For arguments's sake, let's say the median is the average--between $47,000 and $100,000, I believe that is $73,500. That is a college-educated person in New York City. That's barely livable unless they're married.

Regarding your comment: Physical education teachers are just as important, especially now, as regular teachers. The child obesity rate is at its highest right now. Parents allow TVs and video games to babysit the kids. They make phys ed and physical activity fun, and they are better for it. Physical activity stimulates the brain, making learning more effective. Additionally, because of his educational background, he incorporates motor movement terms, muscles, and bones into his lessons. Healthy bodies, healthy minds. This reduces our national health care costs, disability costs, etc.

Norm

Okay, you start teaching at 23, and you retire and die at 86. Your total "teaching time" in class: 23 years.

But you receive a paycheck with benefits for 63 years. Great gig.

Yet I approach my sister (teacher) and say, "We will double your pay, but now you work 50 weeks with two weeks vacation. Do your own 401k, no health benefits unless you pay for them yourself." She freaks out and then shuts up about her pay.

They are all whiners.

Gandalf

Pay for the best teachers, principals, and superintendents should be increased.

Recruitment and retention of the best is the only way to improve the system.

Much better and rigorous teacher education is needed. The dummies went to teacher's college when I was young. They could not get into top schools.

This is the mentality we trust to educate our children! What a shame.

Marcela

It is very sad that the major consensus is that teachers are overpaid. On the contrary, teachers who are in their initial or provisional certifications are the ones that do the majority of the work, have the most appreciation for their work and students, and want to make a change for the better. These teachers, myself included, put forth long hours each day. We may work for nine months out of the year, but our work does not stop when we leave school. I find myself planning and grading until all hours of the night. This means that I put forth more work than tenured teachers but get paid a quarter of the income. It is not necessary for people to make an oversight and completely generalize that teachers get paid more than $100,000 per year. Yes, teachers close to retirement are making that much--what about the teachers who are initiating their place in education? Furthermore, there is a misconception that teachers in the math, science, and special education fields get paid more. Unfortunately, as I am a science teacher for a high school, it means that I get paid as much as a gym teacher and work longer and more demanding hours.

NYC Teacher

As a New York City teacher, I do not know where you are getting your numbers. I am only making $45,000. My mother, who has been in the system for 33 years, is at the top tier, and the highest salary. She doesn't make anywhere near $140,000. Say that you don't feel bad for us, because we only work nine months a year? That may be so. But while you go to work from 9-5, my day starts at 8:30. The day ends at 3:30, yes, but that doesn't mean that I am done with the work. It is impossible to leave school before 4:30, because there are always students waiting to talk to you. You have to do grading, and lesson planning, as well as the lovely parent phone calls, and constant meetings with assistant principals, principals, and the like. Unlike many people who have desk jobs, we do not get the perks of in-house dinners paid for by the company, or expense accounts, or anything of the sort. My students need pens, papers, etc., and guess who pays for it? Me. Not their parents, not my school. New York City schools are highly underbudgeted and in need of money. So when the classrooms are short on supplies, all of the funding comes out of my pocket. So stop feeling bad for yourselves. I don't get to sit at a desk, have my friends/family call me to say hi during the day, or sit on the computer and check out stock quotes and e-mail friends, or be on AIM or any other networking Web sites while you all are doing the like. And when you get a Christmastime bonus, we get nothing. My salary does not increase by a minimum of 10% like most of yours do. It is a contract, and even after 30-plus years, my salary won't even double.

Mariska Morse

I think the "pro" argument wins. Yes, being smart with the increased dollars should be a given. At the end of the day, don't hold up the money with processes--this country is way behind in showing value for the people that are creating our future. A fast-food manager makes more than most teachers--I guess the marketplace values fast food over education. This needs to change fast. Show the dough--and yes, it should only go to teachers (like in any field) that are meeting and exceeding expectations. (Let's not have another AIG situation.)

Jennifer

According to stats put out by the Manhattan Institute, a teacher averages $34 per hour where someone with approximately the same education and years of experience would make $25 in a white collar professional job. Yet teachers only work nine months and the professionals work 12--so the annual pay is approximately the same (roughly $52,000 average nationally).

Teachers always try to fight this fact--as NYC Teacher does above--saying that "while you go to work from 9-5," they work longer hours. Why is it that they think they're the only ones who work after "work hours"? Many other professionals do as well--and since we're salaried--we don't get paid for those extra hours either.

And a minimum 10% annual increase? Really--our average is 3% to 5%, and it is merit based. You have to perform.

Expense accounts? Not unless you're an executive or travel a great deal, and business travel is not fun and games. It's long, tedious and tiring--sure you may be able to keep your mileage, a nice perk for sure--but you're on the clock 24/7 while on the road. Talk about overtime.

While I'm sure there are exceptions, underpaid teachers for the most part are a myth.

John

Until you walk in a teacher's shoes, especially one who works with lower SES students and/or in dysfunctional school district, it will be difficult to grasp what the working conditions are like and why there is a need to pay teachers more for what they do--day in and day out. I'm willing to bet most, if not all, people here who are against increasing teacher salaries have never been one.

Teachers are underpaid considering the education most have to go through to get their credentials, (sometimes one or more years extra beyond the BA/BS for a credential and an additional 2 years for a master's degree) which can be equal to or more than what lawyers and other MBA type professionals must go through to get their degrees.

I've worked in both sectors: private business and public service including law enforcement and education. And having experienced these 3, teaching is by far the most demanding and is where I get paid the least.

It's too bad that most states water down teacher prep programs rather than upping the requirements to be a teacher and being more selective in who gets into these programs. But there is a need, so they get in as many qualified individuals as they can. This isn't the teacher's fault, but rather a fault of the system. If we want our best and brightest out there, then we need to selectively recruit.

It's odd that most states only require you to be only 18 and hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent to be a police officer and yet you have to have a minimum of a BA/BS to teach and yet here in California teachers are paid less than law enforcement and fire personnel who require less education.

If we really put our money in the education, then there just might be less need for incarceration. We have the highest rate of individuals in jail than any industrialized nation and if you've been in a jail then you'd realize there are some smart individuals in there, many who have never graduated high school, and it's not the fault of the schools or their teachers.

Again, it costs up to six times more to incarcerate an individual than to educate a child. Why is this? Something is wrong with this picture.

Larry

Only raise salaries based upon the performance of the students. In business, success is rewarded and failure punished. The way I see it is the education system is broken and needs fixing. Do not throw good money after bad.

Cheryl Mills

Con, because the school system is running on very unfair benefit schedules already. Across the board within a school you will find that not all employees even have health insurance. In a hospital all employees at least have the same benefits, which include health insurance, and of course the salaries differ. Higher salaries are OK once the institutions meet their moral and fair obligations in benefit packages.

Kirk

My wife is a teacher and a great one. The root cause of education problems is the disintegration of the nuclear family. Kids without a foundation have--you guessed it. No foundation. They say kids are resilient. Usually this is said by a cheating spouse. Let's stay married, and then the teachers don't have to be counseling half their class on a daily basis. By the way, real teachers teach because they love to teach. Society owes them a debt to love our kids. Children are the real assets in the new service economy. No investment is too big for them. However, we need to teach them how to have other people work for them, not just to teach them how to work for someone else.

Dan J. Lorey

Okay, I'm an everyday person and I went to an alternative school every day like a normal teen and still graduated with a diploma for one reason--because I needed more hands-on learning with a teacher. That's what needs to happen, or lower testing standards for some of these kids. Teens go to school every day from 8-3. Change that, because a recent study showed that teens that had a hour break in school or out of school for lunch or whatever came back and were more alert and responsive to tests, homework, and not falling asleep in class.

MIKE S

If teachers want more money, let them have an 8-hour day like everyone else and let them teach kids sports and other activities during the summer. No summers off, just 2-3 weeks off like most of the working population. Then we can talk business. I am not sorry for teachers when they work few hours, have summers and holidays off, and have Christmas break and spring break. Is this a job or what?

James H.

In my opinion, the only way to fix this system is to let it fix itself via competition. Instead of forcing children to go to a particular public school, each child should be granted a credit to go to any school the parent sees fit. While a lot of parents can't afford to tote the entire cost of a privatized education they could meet a partial payment much more easily. Private schools would inevitably offer full/partial scholarships for underprivileged children who excel scholastically. The infrastructure would need to develop slowly, though, because this is a radical change. Start by offering the credit to students at those schools that score the lowest and just convert one or two schools at a time. Teachers will have more flexibility with their curriculum and better student to teacher ratios for both private and public schools simply by default. The best teaching programs will eventually prevail, and education will evolve instead of regressing as it is currently. Teacher pay will automatically increase for the best, most talented teachers, because the schools will compete for their services.

Steve Hanson

The problems we have with education aren't the teachers. It's the system in which they function. The system is simply no good and has become irrelevant. Teachers are going to have to band together and recreate the whole thing from scratch - and then they'll have to sell it on the open market, which is where learning should be anyway. Look around you. The collapse of our economy can be traced right back to the school system and back to the people who talked us into paying for it and making it public. We handed over the right to own property in return for public schools. What started out as 'an amount so small that nobody, even the poorest of the poor would miss it' has become a monster that feeds on the blood of productive society - and, as people cry for more computers, fewer students and better pay for teachers as well as new buildings, nobody is watching that companies are providing a guarantee to raise your child's understanding by 1 grade point in 36 hours or your money back, if you buy their product to help your child. Am I the only one that sees what that means? Public schools are irrelevant.
I home schooled two of my 5 children. We had the simplest curriculum in the world: read. Just read. No workbooks, no speaches, no book reports, nothing except reading. Without the stultifying environment of public school, those two children have both entered and graduated from college and one is working toward his doctorate in math and physics and the other her masters in Music. Both consider learning a natural thing.
Learning needs to be fun. It needs to be chosen. It needs to be natural and it needs to follow the interest of the student. And, the techniques and tools need to improve faster than the needs of the free market. "Public School" presumes that the needs of the free market don't change. Maybe 50 years ago that change wasn't all that apparent. But anyone with even 1 brain cell left can see that the environment and learning needs of the 50's is gone. Public school can't react any longer to the pace of change. Only the market can do that. 36 hours of free market instruction = 1 grade point improvement guaranteed. Am I the only one that sees the significance of that?
Teacher's salaries are moot. I want my property rights back. And I don't care if the school system collapses. It isn't doing anyone any good any longer.

Joseph R.

I really wish vouchers "could" work on a large scale, but they cannot.I will use the example of the highly coveted schools in my district, which everyone would like to attend, but not everyone can(they have a lottery system in place). Schools that are less than a mile away are mediocre(whats the difference between them?)I will tell you with a paraphrase from a teachers conference from mother to son(they are Asian BTW) Mother: "I am your mother, and she is your teacher and you will give her the respect that you give me." You will sit,listen and learn because knowledge is the key that opens the door to a better life." There are some bad teachers out there just like any profession, just like Doctors, and lawyers(but I seriously doubt that in other professions that some of your clients or patients are fighting you all the way when you are trying to help them), but more often than not there are two reasons for poor performance 1.Student is having difficulties with the material(teachers fault) 2. Student is unwilling to put forth effort to learn the material(Students and or parents fault).You cannot force knowledge into a child's head, they have to want it(parents must lead by example and instill love of learning in them).

Shani

To address the issue at hand, whether a large proportion of stimulus funds should go to teacher’s salaries, I say, "No." I am a five year New York City public school teacher who, with a MA plus 30, makes base $61,000 and max $80,000 (if I teach in after school, summer school, or Saturday school sessions or take advantage of other opportunities of additional income.) I’ll address the issue at hand, then respond to previous comments.

Readers should first want to know exactly how money is spent in a school district. I did a random Google search, found, then read this pdf about a Illinois school district’s budget, http://www.isbe.state.il.us/SFMS/pdf/mechanics.pdf

The budget includes these major categories: educational, operations & maintenance, bond & interest, transportation, municipal retirement/Social Security, site & construction/capital improvements, working cash, rent, fire prevention & safety.

Expenditures are divided into functions and objects. Functions include: instruction (the teaching of pupils or the interaction between teacher and pupils.), support service, community services, nonprogrammed charges, debt services, provision for contingencies. Objects include: salaries, employee benefits, purchased services, supplies and materials, capital outlay, other objects, tuition

Next, a reader should want to know how are all these expenses being funded; the major sources are: local, state, federal, and flow through revenues as well as loans and sales of bonds and/or other investments.

The budget summary formula is:
Estimated (beginning) fund balance +expenditures/disbursements -revenue/receipts +other financing sources (uses) = estimated (ending) fund balance

Once you know the math, you should be better prepared to answer the question. How do we decide how the money should be spent? Should we not put safer buses on the roads because we to repair asbestos filled school buildings? Should not update fire safety mechanisms in older buildings because we must hire more uniformed school officers? Or less computers vs. more teacher workshops? Or not pay “necessary” faculty more vs. creating smaller class sizes which would mean more “necessary teachers would be needed to teach the classes or that current teachers would inherently need to be compensated for their extra time.)

There are too many factors too consider. Although one scenario is as daunting as the other, there shouldn’t be a disproportionate amount of funds going to one area over another, unless there’s an measurable, unavoidable obvious shortcoming in that area, like building a new story on an existing building to hold 100 new students whose school just closed down--and paying teachers, like any other employee, their just compensation.

Shani

To “Winston” and others who guess about teachers' salaries and those salaries in relation to the numbers of years and training needed, can search their local area’s education website. In New York City, go to http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/CD18AE57-CC05-4016-8BC8-B2BACFC82122/38101/2008SalarySchedule.pdf or do a word search for teacher’s salary on the nyc.gov website.

Everyone one should be entitled to their just payment for service. Historically, our salaries have not risen with the growth of the economy like other professions. Also, teachers, like doctors, are one of few professionals which are required to continue training through out their careers. We therefore are extremely ‘educated’ and under compensated. Often times, we teachers must pay out of pocket, and education course are expensive. We are expected to better our craft and to be learning as we teach learning. I have amassed well more than three times the ‘plus 30’ credits I can get paid. I also take courses during “MY” summers or winter breaks, or weekends. Lastly, our 10 month salary is paid over a 12 month period, but teaching is a FULL time job. We must write lessons, stay current with parents and current research, go to workshops, take college courses, prepare our classrooms, write grants, etc. One never stops reflecting about last year’s battles and next years victories. We easily work 10-20hrs a week more than we are paid for… add that up over 10 months and do the math.

Another point, teachers who work in non union states like GA do not get paid enough. I know, I taught in NY and GA, yet the expectations were just as high. Some teachers FL start under 30k! Cost of living is an important factor. I got paid more in NY, but had to spend more to live. A one bedroom in Do or Die Bed-stuy is $1300+/month, Metro Cards are over $80/month….

On another note, I’d have to agree with “random” who said who ought to spend time helping parents. We NEED to invest in teaching parents how to properly care for their kids while keeping the family together. We need to invest in parent’s character/moral education. If the family fails, we all fail no matter how much Algebra I teach.

I agree with Barb Tarwater about the fallacies are merit pay. There are too many factors that affect a child’s educational success. Besides teachers are not NBA players whose salary depends on how many games they win in a season. We are not entertainment. We are highly trained, highly educated professionals. Our success can not be based on test scores or simple performance standards aka post season stats. We can't wait 10 years to see how successful little Jimmy turned out. Last, a dedicated parent at home has a MUCH greater impact on a child than the 180-200 minutes he spends with me every week.

A.

All I have to say is "Wow."
As a teacher it saddens me to read all the comments about how teachers are whiners or undeserving. Many people complain about or criticize the fact that we work 10 months a year, get benefits, work 8 to 3, get vacations, etc. But they do not recognize most teachers who comes in days before school begins to set up classrooms (mind you no one really helps). We climb up to put charts, poster paper, border, make labels, organize libraries by genre and reading levels. I bet not many of you can grab a children's book and say if it is appropriate reading for a child with a snap of a finger.

Recognize those teachers who feed a child breakfast because he did not eat in the morning; provide socks for students who come in on a snowy day with raggedy sneakers and no socks on. What about the teachers who taketheir lunch periods or prep periods to work with a child to finish up work? No one mentions how teachers spend time teaching students who want to learn but also have to take some abuse from angry students who do not want to learn unless they get their way. It is all our jobs to set examples and be role models.

But I agree with some posters, it begins at the home. Parents need to take responsibility and teach and reinforce instruction home. Don't let your young child sit in front of the TV to watch Family Guy.

Speaking for me only, I feel teaching is a very demanding job. I think about my students a lot and what I can do for them to be better human beings. If I need to, I would pay out of my pocket for materials, books, whatever. People are going to have their opinions, but at least be respectful toward our profession. I do not see people jumping through hoops to teach our children (good and bad, poor or rich, girls and boys, etc.)

James H.

A., I have to agree with you. It's usually not the teachers who are the whiners. However, a startling number of parents and students have developed an entitlement complex and this is detrimental to society as a whole. I think the trouble may be rooted in the belief that everyone is special. This is simply not the case. As special as my parents and teachers told me that I was, I eventually turned out to be rather ordinary--the same is the case with most of the people you know. The majority of our students are not special (different, maybe) but “special” is a title you must earn. The process of learning would change radically if students and parents alike would develop a sense of modesty and appreciation.

I attended private school from kindergarten through the 10th grade. When my parents got divorced they could no longer afford to send me there so I started public school as a junior and found myself going through a sort of culture shock. The biggest difference was mainly in the level of respect shown by both the parents and the students--or should I say the lack of it. How can we expect our teachers to nurture the children’s minds when we thwart their every effort by failing to discipline ourselves and our children?

Teachers are not there to coddle your children; they are there to teach those who want to learn. The second biggest difference was in the curriculum--the classes were absurdly easy. Teachers regularly have to deal with a plethora of dilemmas, from the frenzied ranting of the parents, to the students who do not show even a modicum of respect, to the restrictive guidelines for their curriculum set by the school administration. All of these issues stifle education--end of story. They spend endless hours planning lessons, running copies, grading tests, quizzes, papers, projects, etc. I can’t think of a less desirable job in this day and age--I’d get fired within the first week for choking out one of these spoiled brats. Good teachers deserve more than we can ever afford to pay them. Put your money where your mouth is if you think you can do a better job. After all, it’s an easy gig right?

James H.

One last point you should think about: Why would people who vote yes to increased spending on education also vote no for higher taxes? Why is it that those people feel entitled to something for nothing?

Joseph.R

This is for all the baseless opinions (falsehoods and hyperbole) regarding other countries' education systems: India is a caste society and only a portion are well educated. India does not try to educate all of its citizens (as does the U.S.) Here is a quote from a movie about education (the student is Indian: "Indian and Chinese students work harder than American students do." The film quotes a tech entrepreneur on sabbatical at Duke University, Vivek Wadhwa, saying, "The hunger isn't there; the desire isn't there. Chinese and Indian kids are a lot more motivated to get into these fields and succeed because they're fighting starvation, they're fighting hunger." (Mitchell Landsberg, Los Angeles Times, June 16, 2008)

Other countries know that it is not that our teachers are inadequate and unable to teach (though some are) but rather many of our U.S. students are ill-prepared to learn and unmotivated, and parents are unwilling or unable to put the hammer down.

Everyone needs to do two things:

1. Go for a police ride-along.

2. Go observe an upper elementary classroom for a week.

Now you can post with some perspective.

Dan

Our concern as citizens should be with attracting the brightest and the best to education.

There are districts that pay their educators well, but there are far more districts that are not.

Judging an entire nations situation based upon what is happening in one district, city or state is short sighted.

We have an overall teacher shortage in this country will continue to have one. According to Hess, Rotherham, & Walsh, 2004, in "A Qualified Teacher in Every Classroom?" our country's colleges are turning out approximately 200,000 teachers per year to fill vacancies that on an average are projected to be 325,000 per year through 2017. (NCES, 2009).

We will continue to have overall shortages until we increase the starting salaries of educators so that they are competitive with similarly educated people who work in the private sector.

Inner city districts are particularly hard pressed to recruit enough qualified candidates. Districts from Maryland to Nevada have resorted to importing educators into their districts using the H1B Visa program.

Increasing salaries will be the only way that we can reach equilibrium in meeting the demand for properly trained and intelligent personnel. Districts will then be able to select the best candidates for their classrooms, not just a warm body.

It is basic economics that until the supply equals demand, then we must not be paying enough.

Pete

I always wonder why citizens are so concerned with teacher pay; they are not they only people that are paid through taxes. I think it is different because everybody thinks they know a lot about the issues because they went through school--does this make them an expert? I had my car fixed by a mechanic, so does this make me an expert? Why don't we hear anything about politicians pay or other government workers? They get raises all of the time--politicians even get to vote for their own raises, and I think they get paid for life even when they get out of office.

john

I believe the big-picture problem with education is the same as the problem with Americans and by default, America in general. Some call it ethics, attitude, etc. Although leadership and incentives can help, the leaders will go where the herd will follow. America is not a smart or healthy organization (read 'smart' and 'healthy' in any way you like, it’ll be true).

For better leadership and the definition of a healthy organization, see The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni.

The specific immediate problem is state-mandated testing and curriculum coupled with inept administration, most of whom have little or no teaching experience.

What good are highly qualified, talented, creative, teachers that could be lured in with higher pay if they can't flourish in their job? The current unhealthy federal/state educational organization wants robots teaching robots, not adults teaching children. Apart from the pay for a job, an unhealthy oranization squeezes out its best and brightest.

Both my parents are California teachers and work themselves to the bone. They are highly experienced, intelligent, creative, and (over)committed to their work.

My father is in special education, mother in kindergarten/1st. Although my father's amazing custom programs he's created for each student (he gets autistic and mentally disabled students into junior college classes!) are able to flourish because of the absence of testing, he gets the opposite of support from his administration. The best teaching aides ever are shoved aside so severly underqualified children of administrator's friends can have a job. Once again, the unhealthy organization loses its best.

My mother, on the other hand, cannot teach her students. Game over. If she were younger, she'd jump ship.

The solution? Put teachers in charge of their classrooms, not politicians or administrators.

BL in VT

I once read an academic study that showed money will not buy you happiness above about 45 or 50 thousand dollars. Certainly, rising income did correlate to increasing happiness. But the point is that it plateaus at a certain point below what most people would expect (45K-50K). My wife is a vet, and she makes 100K but works ridiculously long hours and doesn't get to see her family, with only 2 weeks vacation per year. She would give her left arm to work "190-200" days per year, as one reader indicated teachers work, so she could be with her family at home. Her only real choice is to work part-time, which is something we hope we can arrange in the future. Any teacher who thinks the rest of the world doesn't know how cushy you have it, with summers off, and that in most states you can strike to try to force us to give you more, you are very wrong. People see you enjoying the hell out of your summer and making pretty decent money, and you get a pension (at least here in Vermont), and then you threaten to strike if you don't get a hefty raise in the middle of a deep recession. That makes people bitter, very bitter. Even people who want to support you. We know you are passionate about your work; that's great. Let's just keep it in perspective about how hard it is. That is extremely easy to see through and that is precisely why so many see you and your union as whiners. It is not an unreasonable perspective. You should be stripped of your ability to strike. We pay high property taxes in Vermont, mostly for public schools, and they are not that special. We want to keep our children on an Ivy League track, so we are home-schooling them instead of assuming the job will get done down the road. Some teachers there are amazing, some do not inspire confidence at all. One of the oldest teachers is a kindergarten teacher, she makes about 65 thousand dollars per year. They hired a second kindergarten teacher who makes jack squat. The younger teachers need to wake up and realize that you are in a Ponzi scheme that is not sustainable and you will not be seeing that kind of cash when your time comes. Again, home-school you children so they don't have to work at the mind-numbing pace of public school. It will pay off for you down the road when they are taking AP college classes from 10th grade on and get early entry into a college/university of their choice. It's not just the kids with challenges who fall through the cracks. The gifted and the challenged fall through the cracks in public school, at least in public elementary schools. Everybody moves at the same glacially slow pace. No amount of money for teachers is going to make me think that the teachers are going to work harder and give my children the future they can get with the full devotion of their parents love and direction.

rawss

Teachers should not be held responsible for society's lack of interest and effort in education. I have stood before classrooms with amazing lessons and have observed amazing teachers, but our current milieu is brutal for educators.

It is like a doctor being held responsible for the health of his/her patients. If they won't stop abusing drugs, what can you do?
Are the police departments poor because people still get robbed?

The spirit of a teacher is dedicated to the upbuilding of the overall community, but there is only so much control and influence that teachers have. Pay me enough money to cover my middle class bills and have some money left to enjoy my life, and I can accept that.

chris

For only working part time, teachers are paid way more than they are worth. First of all, factor in the amount of time the students are actually in the class room, with gym, music, lunch, computer, and so on--count it up. Then there are their sick days and vacation days. What are we talking about? They get insurance and so on. Everybody deserves a raise--don't get my wrong--but they should be earned and not mandatory. Most of them started out with too much to begin with, and for tenure when you can't get fired no matter what you do. Unions should be abolished. No teacher or government job, or most people, for that fact, should not get a raise, especially in these times but you should all earn it like everybody else. I am a small dairy farmer in central New York, and we lost $100,000 last year with the low, low milk prices. We pay $1,120 in health insurance every month, and we haven't ever had a raise. You people make me sick, crying all the time for raises and going on strike. When somebody goes on stike, fire them and get somebody else. Maybe you lazy Americans would wake up and do a good job at what you are paid to do.

Leah

Some of these comments are appalling. The entire foundation of one's success and development as a person mostly hinges on their education and their upbringing. If you're comfortable sending your children to under-qualified teachers, then by all means root against giving teachers reasonable salaries (and $30,000 a year is not reasonable considering how that comes to less than 20 dollars an hour, and I made that as a secretary in high school).

The fact is that those who can make more money, because they have attended higher level universities or are more qualified individuals will eventually leave the teaching profession if there is not some sort of reward or incentive to remain in the school. The comments on this post are a perfect example of how one of the most important professions in the country has been belittled. It is your civic responsibility to attempt to reverse America's failure to educate their children (we rank 18th out of the best educated nations). Encouraging highly qualified individuals to teach the country's youth can be a step forward, not a way of rewarding "low-status" "scum."

Join the Debate

 

Participate More!

Please send us your ideas for new Debate Room topics. If you're an academic, association officer, or other industry expert and would like to write a Debate Room essay, send us a query. Questions? See the

BW Mall - Sponsored Links

Buy a link now!