The Salary Straitjacket: The Pitfalls Of Paying All Teachers The Same Print E-mail
By James V. Shuls, Ph.D.   
Monday, October 29, 2012

Imagine a school in which the highest prize for academic achievement went to the student who had been there the longest. Though it seems ridiculous to reward students in this manner, this is exactly how school districts reward teachers — by longevity. Teachers by and large are paid on a single salary schedule. These schedules not only fail to reward teachers based on their quality, but they fail to recognize that teaching different subjects and grade levels requires different skill sets and that those particular skill sets are in varying demand in the marketplace. For instance, there are reportedly 3.1 jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for every one unemployed person in Missouri. In comparison, there is only 1 non-STEM job for every 3.7 unemployed people. This means teachers with strong backgrounds in math and science may have more, higher-paying options outside of teaching. This is a reality we must address.

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