Archive for November 2nd, 2011

November 2, 2011

Pay science teachers competitive salaries for higher student achievement

by Grace

Droll comment from the University of Chicago Headline blog

China May Have Better Test Scores, But We Can Still Kick Their Ass in Dodgeball: In Michigan gym teachers paid more than science teachers

Details from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy:

This is not unusual, because school districts don’t differentiate what a teacher does when considering compensation, regardless of the district’s educational needs. Teachers are paid on a single salary schedule based on seniority and education level.

Science education has become a concern after students across the nation did poorly on a recent national exam. Fewer than 33 percent of elementary and high school students had a solid grasp of science according to results earlier this year from the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Market conditions should play a factor in teacher pay

Michael Van Beek, education policy director at the Mackinac Center, said the single salary pay scale puts schools at a disadvantage in trying to attract and retain the best science teachers.

“If you are skilled in the science field, you are going to have a lot of opportunities with a private-sector company that will reward you more than a school district,” Van Beek said. “Science and math are what the United States is most significantly trailing other countries in. Those are the fields that are seen as driving innovation and wealth creation.”

Why is it important to attract and retain the best science teachers?

Good teachers are the single most important school factor in raising student achievement.

By the way, you can read more commentary from University of Chicago students over at Headline, a student organization dedicated to updating students on breaking international news, trends and issues.  (Full disclosure:  my son is head blogger there.)

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