Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Teacher salaries

Before the school board, union leaders, legislators, parents and taxpayers crunch those school budget numbers they may want to read the latest from Mike Antonucci. Using figures from the latest NEA report called Rankings and Estimates he write:

NEA's tables clearly indicate that the reason so many states are having education funding problems -- and why the average teacher salary is not higher -- is not because of NCLB, cheapskate taxpayers, stingy administrators, or any of the other usual targets. It's because as a percentage of the whole, we're hiring more teachers -- many more teachers -- than we're enrolling students to support them.

In 2004-05, America enrolled 297,101 more students than in 2003-04. But it employed 49,732 more teachers. That's 1 teacher for every additional 6 students.
(emphasis mine--K)
According to Mike's math Tennessee hired 1.6% new teachers for a .9% student increase. The question then is: is this unbalanced increase correcting overcrowding or, perhaps, staff that isn't really 'essential'?

And let's not overlook this from the NEA report:
Teacher salaries, however, increased at a rate higher than inflation in nine states, giving teachers more money to cover their living expenses, support their families, pay for continuing education, and save for unexpected emergencies. Maryland, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Vermont, Virginia, Tennessee, New Mexico, Montana, and Oklahoma were among the states where increases in teacher salaries rose faster than the rate of inflation.
(Again, emphis mine--K)
Again, I'm all for paying excellent teachers well. They earn it. I'd just like to be able to verify that they really are excellent teachers before they get those excellent paychecks and benefits.


Paul Chenoweth said...

Kay, rewarding great teachers would certainly be a motivator...unfortunately when not-so-great teachers are rewarded at the same rate I can see where that may be disheartening.

As for the differences in growth rates between teacher numbers and student numbers, I hope that trend continues. Several studies indicate that smaller class sizes have a significant impact on learning.

Anonymous said...

Paul -- other studies do say smaller class sizes makes no difference expect for kids from lower socio-economic environments. Better discipline, teachers who really want to be with kids, strong teachers, a good curriculum and fewer classroom diversions would go a long way to better results. I say pay the teachers who educate our children and do the best to weed out the ineffective ones. I think if quality in teachers is expected and rewarded more people might chose teaching who shy away from it now because of the bad/ineffective teachers being kept in the classroom and hurting the reputation of the great teachers.

Just my two cents wroth--