Ok, before you read this post, I’m going to admit freely that this issue is one which brings out my snarky and biased side.
A writer with the News Tribune advocates higher pay for math and science teachers to lure better and new teachers to the profession. No other content area would receive the extra pay; it would only be given to math and science teachers.
I take issue with for a few reasons:
1. I absolutely believe all teachers deserve more pay across the board, not just a select few. Education is not a free market based system and shouldn’t be run like one in my humble opinion.
2. Snark alert — offensive statement coming — I don’t believe that extra pay should be given to content areas struggling to produce better results. Now I admit that I believe the math and science teachers are in a very difficult spot (plus, I don’t believe in the validity of the math and science WASL tests mainly used to define their success), but I would rather give bonuses to areas which are showing successes if I had to give extra pay to anyone.
3. I believe everyone in a school should be rewarded monetarily when test scores and graduation rates improve.
In my high school reading and writing scores have risen every year. Math and science scores rose slightly and have now plateaued. When an informal lunch discussion began with a mix of teachers in different content areas, this idea of extra pay for math and science teachers came up and, of course, the math and science teachers were all for it. People debated the idea back and forth with some people pinning the results solely on the teachers, others pinning it on the students, and others pinning blame on the parents and community.
While I know the competitive market is making it much more difficult to get math and science teachers, I don’t believe higher pay for that area is acceptable. Maybe I’m too prejudiced or jealous, but I don’t think this is the answer. Plus, part of the shortage in my area is the new math mandate for students failing the WASL where we take away student electives and double the kids up on math. The math department went from 9 to 16 teachers in two years! Students who didn’t enjoy math before now doubly don’t enjoy it, and the attendance rates have worsened in the math department since the new mandate.
Like I said, I believe in better pay for all and school rewards for everyone when test scores and graduation rates climb. I think it’s equitable and builds community.