Could Higher Pay for Teachers Be Bad for Your Child's Education?
Mar 23, 2012
Does higher pay for teachers translate into better education for students? Not necessarily, some say. In fact, there may be no correlation between higher salaries for teachers and increased student achievement. So is there any real benefit in paying teachers more money?
Attracting the Wrong Crowd?
Long-debated teacher salaries recently made headlines once again when an Alabama senator questioned whether raising pay for educators was the right thing to do. Alabama legislators are currently considering the possibility of increasing teacher pay.
Sen. Shadrack McGill told The Huffington Post in February 2012 that raising teacher pay could 'attract people who aren't called to teach.' The potential result? Worse teachers.
It's Sen. McGill's belief that people are 'called' to teach and would do so regardless of the compensation. Higher salaries, he believes, could draw some people to the profession only for the money. These teachers might not show the interest or compassion many feel is needed to be effective in the classroom.
But, it could be argued, aren't there ineffective teachers in classrooms across the United States right now, ineffective teachers that are protected by tenure? And aren't higher salaries just as enticing to potentially bad teachers as potentially good ones? Still, there's no guarantee that more pay would necessarily attract better or more qualified individuals.
No Real Payoff to Higher Teacher Salaries
The fact is, more pay simply may not increase teacher effectiveness. And if not, then is higher pay really warranted?
In March 2011, Harvard economist Roland Fryer conducted a study regarding the outcome of a teacher incentive experiment in New York City. The $75 million program, which paid bonuses to teachers based on several factors including test scores, graduation rates and student attendance, found that the bonuses had almost no impact on teacher behavior or effectiveness.
What's more, teachers themselves do not cite higher salaries as the way to attract or retain professionals in the field. Better leadership and professional development, for instance, both ranked higher than increased salary in a 2010 survey (more pay came in at number six!).
No Easy Solutions
So what's the answer? There doesn't seem to be an easy one, but there are certainly interesting suggestions.
One came from New Jersey governor Chris Christie in November 2011. Then, Gov. Christie suggested to Fox News that teachers should be paid according to the subject they teach: 'I don't think there's any reason why we shouldn't pay math and science teachers more than gym teachers.' He added that he didn't believe there was a single parent out there who would say 'gym is more important than biology.'
But could this plan wind up hurting children in the long run? The higher-paying teaching jobs might attract the 'better' candidates, while the lower-paying positions such as gym teachers would be harder to fill and might be assumed by those possessing lower qualifications.
Perhaps Sen. McGill is right: that those who teach are 'called' to the profession, and would do so no matter the size of the paycheck. Maybe more attention should be turned to administrative leadership, curriculum development and instructional methods rather than money. If the latter is indeed the 'root of all evil,' then any focus on it may wind up being bad for your child's education.
Other Blog Posts You May Be Interested In
A question for parents: would you allow your children to play outside without keeping an eye on them? Many would likely say no. Well, the same mentality should be used when your kids use the Internet; in other words, kids should not be allowed to roam the vast world of the Internet unsupervised and without fully understanding its...
If you have a child in elementary, middle or high school, then you've likely heard plenty of stories about bullying. Even if your child is not the target of bullying, he or she could still be affected by it. As a parent, you'll certainly want to make your kids aware of this persistent and growing problem in schools across the...
Let's face it: moving from kindergarten to first grade can be an overwhelming experience; so can transitioning from elementary school to middle school, or middle school to high school. In many ways, kids can be totally unprepared for what to expect as they move from one grade level to the next. So how can parents help with this...
Is it too early to begin thinking about your child's future career? Whether you have a toddler, tween or teen, it's never too early to begin cultivating interests that might one day turn into a career. So what can you do to steer your child in what is hopefully the right direction?
Are you worried that your child will not be intellectually stimulated during the summer months? While the season should be a time for fun and relaxation, it certainly doesn't hurt to slip some learning in during summer break. So sure, hit the beaches and amusement parks...but consider the following suggestions for activities that are...