Tuesday, January 28, 2014

does money matter? (teacher's edition)

Today's post is part one of a two part discussion on the impact of money on teachers and students in education. 
What if we simply paid teachers more?  What if we offered teachers incentives for improving their skills and learning more?  What if we offered incentives to teachers if their students did better?  What if we let teachers decide how to make improvements happen?
It's an interesting proposition, one that was implemented in the 1990s in North Carolina and is again being suggested by former NC Governor, Jim Hunt.  You can read about what North Carolina did, their results, a Jim Hunt's current proposal here.

I think we need to ask important questions here, because the answers matter.  Why did this seem to work in North Carolina?  Why did North Carolina stop?  Will it work again?  Is it worth it to try? 

What do you think? 


  1. What if we simply paid teachers more? yes! But not for free.... being paid more has to go hand in hand with raising standards (which people want the pay but not the standards and I think that is unfair!). If you raise the standards (and the pay), then it should domino effect into students doing better! Your teachers are now consistently developing and enhancing their profession, they are super qualified and learning all the time, they are staying current..and they are well paid so they are happy and willing to do all this! In turn, happy and willing students who are learning (ideally). And yes, teachers SHOULD be the ones deciding these standards and policies. Teachers who have raised their own standards for the betterment of their students and their craft should be defining these standards. I think one of the problems is the fact that we have many teachers who are fine to do the bare minimum because "that's why you get into teaching....it's an easy gig" (which if you do your job well and you do it RIGHT, you know that is so not true!!). But that person is getting paid the same amount that the super overachiever is getting paid, and that is not fair. And it is because of those teachers that our standards are low (or non existent), it is because of those beliefs that pay is low, and it is because of that belief that we are not quite there yet and why we don't have teachers making decisions. Until teachers are seen as equal to those who are making these decisions...we will never make these decisions. And round and round we go!

  2. It is true that this is a challenging cycle. I'd be curious to hear what percentage of teachers you think are in it at the bare minimum. It's hard for me to judge because I don't know a lot of those folks. I do think it is important that educators rather than politicians determine curriculum, standards, and methodologies on the grounds that they are actually trained to do so. One of the reason I think this plan actually worked in NC in the 90s was because the state's action emphasized the value they placed in teachers. The feedback loop was in place. We value you and want to pay you what you are worth. Teachers responded with, we are going to take your support seriously and really work toward these goals we all have. Great says NC... let's pay you more for that! awesome says teachers. I can quit that second job and really focus on teaching... round and round...

  3. What percentage in the world? or in 'our' world....see, 'our' world is different. But there is still a small percentage. In THE world...many! I speak from my short time in the public school system and comparing the amount of work I did versus that of others, comments I received, and conversations I had with others.

  4. There are so many different "reasons" for failing grades. It is unfair to assume that teacher's are the only one involved.
    1. Parents are the biggest influence
    2. Class size
    3. Community support
    4. Students themselves, if they don't want to learn no teacher can force them.
    5. Lack of respect for teachers as a whole. In these countries everyone says are the best, teachers are respected like Drs.
    6. All the laws and restrictions that allow students to just get by with the minimum.
    7. Other schools only educate all of their young till 15
    8. Private and charter schools have the luxury to kick out students that fit into their plan, public schools do not.
    When looking at our education system, look at the percentage of "total" population that graduate high school, go on to 4 year colleges, and the number of foreign exchange students that come to the United States versus how many leave for other countries


  5. It is a complicated situation. Unfortunately those in charge are less than sympathetic at times... there isn't a good answer, yet...