Public’s Reaction: Pay Teachers More

Despite what the conservative governors of Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin and New Jersey believe, the public believes that teachers are underpaid and over  worked.  So says the report, “Closing The Talent Gap” from a study by McKinsey and Company.

The public wants to reward teachers — 57% say they are paid too little, with just 7% believing they are overpaid and most of the rest saying they’re paid about right.

Half say that teachers’ salaries should be based on their students’ performance on statewide tests and on the evaluations they receive from local school officials. About 1 in 4 say pay should be determined solely by school administrators’ ratings, while under 1 in 5 say salaries should be based only on how well students do on statewide testing.

According to Nicholas, D. Kristof writing in the New York Times, March 13, 2011), “In 1970, in New York City, a newly minted teacher at a public school earned about $2,000 less in salary than a starting lawyer…. These days the lawyer takes home, including bonus, $115,000 more than the teacher.”

In the past, it was easier to find teachers.  Most teachers were women who became teachers because better jobs weren’t opened to them.  Today women have the opportunity to become lawyers, doctors and investment bankers.  The talk and actions taken by these conservative governors is encouraging those in the field to consider taking retirement or leaving those states where the executive leadership is making life difficult.  It is also making the already difficult job more difficult.  The politicians who falsely accuse teachers as greedy are making it difficult to recruit the “best qualified people” to a job where in the next few years we will need 2 million more people to replace retirees.