Thursday, May 16, 2013

Teacher Pay: Why Teachers deserve more



I think teachers need a pay raise.  Thus, I have been calling for a teacher pay raise.  I don't think it should come as any surprise to anyone who has been reading my blog posts that I am an advocate for teachers and relieving the burdens leading to their dissatisfaction or leaving the profession.  Low teacher pay is both a major cause for dissatisfaction and a burden.  Teachers have not had their state salary schedule adjusted since 2006.  Can anyone think of anything that is cheaper in 2013 than in 2006?  Minimum wage has seen 3 increases in that time.  Gas just jumped $.30 here in Clinton.  Insurance Premiums - higher; Groceries - higher; Movie Tickets - higher; McDonalds - higher; Vacations - well, I can't tell you because I can't afford to take my family on one.  The point is that everything around teachers cost more now than they did in 2006.  It doesn't take a genius to understand that teachers are going backwards with their ability to provide a living for their families.  This is a major burden.  Teacher pay should be addressed and pay raises given.

Recently the Daily Oklahoma editorial staff opined that teacher pay isn't a factor in Oklahoma's teacher shortage or a factor in our teachers leaving the profession.   They went on to argue the biggest trouble with teacher quality are the low entrance standards 
in teacher preparatory programs at our state colleges and universities.  WHAT!?  I must have missed something.  Did they actually just suggest that teacher quality can be improved by limiting the number of college students trying to become teachers?  That logic is akin to saying we can improve customer service at Wal-Mart by reducing the number of employees Wal-Mart is allowed to hire.  Yep, the DOK thinks if fewer teachers are allowed to teach, then the quality of those remaining teachers will be better.   I thought we already had a teacher shortage problem.  How will further reducing the number of teachers entering the profession improve teacher quality of those ALREADY in the profession?  Ever notice how free markets and competition is the solution to school choice, but exclusivity is their solution to teachers?  However, they don't want to pay the teachers anymore; they just want better people doing a better job at the same discounted salary - doesn't make sense to me either.    

The DOK points out some research reports concluded teacher pay isn't a top reason for teacher attrition.  Yes, some research indicates pay is not in the top 4 reasons why teachers quit.  Makes sense to me; teachers in Oklahoma knew the pay sucked when they signed up to be a teacher.  However, once they had to work so hard for that lousy pay, they left the profession.  Some research (click here to read the full report) indicates low pay contributes up to 78.5% of all teacher dissatisfaction. That is number 1 by a landslide.  The next 3 reasons together didn't add up to low pay dissatisfaction.  Pay is the reason why teachers are dissatisfied; Pay is the reason why they look for jobs in other states or other professions.  Pay is not the reason why they just quit.