Teachers Unions

Paying Teachers According to Seniority is Nonsensical and Ineffective

Paying teachers according to their degree attainment is also silly.

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Teacher
Pedro Sanchez / Wikimedia Commons

So argues a recently released study by The New Teacher Project. According to The Huffington Post:

The report, titled "Shortchanged: The Hidden Costs of Lockstep Teacher Pay," says the "lockstep pay" system of most school districts gives all teachers the same pay increases, regardless of performance. The report contends effective teachers should be rewarded, especially in high-poverty districts that pose the greatest teaching challenges. It estimates that U.S. school districts spend at least $250 million a year on automatic pay raises for ineffective teachers.

"Beginning salaries have to be high, one because it's fair and new entrants are not going to consider a profession with low starting salaries," Tim Daly, TNTP president, said over the phone. "The second thing is we need to accelerate salary growth for early top performers. In other careers people often start at a moderate salary, but top performances accelerate quickly because they get promoted."

The study essentially finds that "lockstep pay"—automatic yearly salary raises given to all teachers regardless of merit—incentivizes bad teachers to stay in the field (since their raises are unconditional) and drives away good teachers (since their efforts go unrewarded).

Paying teachers according to their degree attainment is also ineffective, the study finds:

Last year alone, schools across the country spent an estimated $8.5 billion on raises for teachers due to master's degrees—enough to cover the cost of all school nutrition programs for more than 15 million students. When teachers earn a master's degree or a PhD, they move into a new "lane" on the salary scale, which translates into thousands of extra dollars in salary every year for the rest of their career. In fact, teachers who pay $25,000 for a master's degree today and remain in the profession for 20 years could expect to triple their investment. Not surprisingly, 56 percent of all teachers have master's degrees.

However, there is mounting evidence that this massive investment in advanced degrees is wildly disproportionate to its actual impact on the quality of instruction in classrooms. Over the last several decades, studies have found that advanced degrees have little to no measurable effect on a teacher's ability to help students learn. In some cases, advanced degrees may even have a negative effect.

Teachers union leaders will likely condemn the study—they remain stubborn defenders of lockstep pay—but perhaps it can provide ammunition for good teachers whose hard work deserves a logical pay system.

For more coverage of teacher pay, watch ReasonTV's "The Two-Million-Dollar Teacher."

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  1. Do they seriously use a seniority system in the fucking teacher’s unions, like we do on the railroad?

    Oh brother…

    1. How much extra does the railroad pay for getting a Masters degree?

  2. This article hardly mentioned the most important part of teaching: teh childrenz. This pay is necessary for their survival. And so is voting: http://elections.co.kern.ca.us/elections/

    1. Wait, here’s an even better link. http://elections.co.kern.ca.us…..r_them.asp

      Gold.

      1. I love it when the county registrar actually endorses voter fraud (top left corner).

  3. We need high starting pay for teachers because it’s “fair”? I thought we stopped arguing the concept of a “just price” a few hundred years ago and just accepted that a fair price is whatever the parties to a transaction agreed to. Are we back to arguing that nurses should be paid more than professional athletes and manual laborers should be paid more than stockbrokers because they work harder and provide a more valuable service to society?

    1. He comes from the Matt Damon school of management. Teachers don’t become teachers for the money, which is why every time there is a millage proposal, we are supposed to vote yes to pay them better.

      1. MATT DAMON!

    2. He does also state that it’s a way of attracting better talent into the teaching pool. That may be compelling.

      Although it varies by state. Here in California, starting pay for teachers is on par with if not better than entry level work in other fields. The district I was schooled in, starting pay was $43k. And when you compare that to entry level in other industries one a per hour basis, its no comparison. Getting a third of the fucking year off is a huge perk.

      1. It’s a lot closer to $65K starting, not including bennies. A third of the year off, home by 3PM every day, and impossible to get fired. Hmmmm.

        1. I’ve seriously thought about becoming a teacher. Pretty decent pay for only “working” 2/3 of a year.

          1. I could see you becoming the girls high school volleyball coach.

          2. I got annoyed when I found out one doesn’t get certified as a teacher in CA but certificated. That and a Reason video with teachers union thugs screaming at a school board meeting and very overtly trying to intimidate parents and the school board.

  4. It may not be the best way, but the idea is hardly ‘nonsensical.’ It’s not irrational to think that in general experience is tied to performance. I would think the problem is when you also make it very hard to find and get rid of bad performers (which seems to be the case in many areas), THEN it would be nonsensical to assume that experience is tied to performance.

    1. Bo Cara Esq.|7.15.14 @ 6:35PM|#
      …”It’s not irrational to think that in general experience is tied to performance.”…

      And if pay is tied to performance, that is totally irrlevant.

      1. This assumes performance is easily measurable.

    2. It’s not irrational to think that in general experience is tied to performance. I would think the problem is when you also make it very hard to find and get rid of bad performers (which seems to be the case in many areas), THEN it would be nonsensical to assume that experience is tied to performance.

      We are discussing any pub sec parasite. It is difficult to get rid of “bad performers” so, as you say in the very next sentence, it is nonsensical in this case. While it may or may not apply in other cases, we agree that it does, in this one.

      Did you have some actual point? Oh, it’s you.

  5. Ive decided Bo isnt blue tulpa but slightly less idiotic mng.

    1. Whatever happened to him, anyway?

      I really don’t get the idea that teachers can’t be paid on a merit/market basis, when far more complex positions do get paid that way.

  6. Teaching is like a lot of other professions where you can receive a buttload of training but still not be able to do it well . Ones just off the top of my head: sales, singing, art, and sports. If you don’t have the talent, no amount of time or training will make you a good teacher.

  7. Ive decided Bo isnt blue tulpa but slightly less idiotic mng.

    I called him MNG junior a long time ago, for what that’s worth.

    ARFARFARF! THROW THE STICK!

  8. Sweden’s School Choice Disaster
    “Advocates for school choice might be shocked to see how badly the country’s experiment with vouchers failed.
    …Sweden, where parents and educators would be thrilled to trade their country’s steep drop in PISA scores over the past 10 years for America’s middling but consistent results.”

    ‘Course Slate is as PC as Reason, so they’re as as clueless or dishonest as to what’s actually happening.

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