Originally Posted by Warbrain
Teacher don't need to be paid more. Do you realize how much money most teachers make, even those just starting out? Most make 40k starting out and then get up close to 100k when they retire or even sooner than that. And the fact that you get to work only 9 MONTHS OF THE YEAR? Wonderful if you ask me. No need to pay them anymore than what they get.
I see you've never taught and never known anyone who did. As someone who's taught kids and adults and whose parents are both teachers, I believe I can say with some authority that you haven't a clue what you're talking about. You're describing university professors here when you say that starting salaries are decent and you can work your way up to a damn good one. You're also partially wrong about this; only in CS are salaries as high as you describe. My parents are in the humanities, and they started out at closer to 30K; 30 years later, they're making nowhere near 100K a year, and they both constantly publish and get on the Excellent Teachers List every single year
. I know a lot about academic politics and I can confidently say that college profs who make more than $100,000 a year are few and far between, and they're likely in CS or they're really famous, or both.
But we're not talking about university professors here. We're talking about K-12 education, and that's where pay rates have stagnated. The starting salary for teachers is often closer to 20K a year, and few teachers ever break 60K. Also, because of byzantine internal politics and absurd testing procedures, the best teachers don't get consistently rewarded for their efforts. The stated goal is to prevent a cold war of sorts in which teachers hide their teaching techniques to prevent their "competitors" from stealing them and becoming just as good while doing less work, but this policy really just results in the mediocre staying mediocre and the good having no financial incentive to further innovate.
It's also a myth that teachers have a lighter workload because they only work 9 months out of each year. The difference is this: teachers take their work home regularly and mandatorily, and I felt the sting of this growing up when my parents couldn't pay attention to me because they were spending hours bludgeoning themselves against the deluded ramblings of beer-swilling frat boys whose academic ambitions were as small as their brains. At a normal 9 to 5 job, you're finished when you come home. Sure, there's overtime and work you have to do at home, but most of the time you you get paid for this! Teachers get paid precisely zero dollars for the literally countless hours they spend grading homework and preparing lesson plans. As for the summer, there are usually a couple weeks of mandatory meetings and planning sessions. On top of this, many teachers are required to take training classes, and many who don't do so voluntarily at their own expense. Sure, many don't, and they tranish the profession and help spin the myth that teachers are lazy and overpaid. Teachers may only technically work 9 months a year, but those months are filled with much more unpaid work than your average profession.
The real problem is that K-12 education is a dead-end career, and everybody in it knows this. Most bad K-12 teachers are bitter because they were once aspiring academics who couldn't make the cut for college work. They know they have few opportunities for advancement, and they know they're going to be poorly paid for the rest of their lives. The good teachers are the ones who are cognizant of these facts but don't give a damn because they genuinely love children, teaching, or both. It's these teachers we should be working on rewarding.
Sure, good principals not being able to fire bad teachers is a problem in K-12 education. So are bad principals bullying good teachers. And ballooning class sizes. And politically-motivated curricula. And aging teaching models outdated by modern technology. And crumbling infrastructure in urban schools. And kids with discipline problems whose parents don't give a rat's ass if they do poorly. Jobs articulated just one of many problems that schools face, and if the issue is going to ever be solved, drastic action must be taken on all fronts.