Teachers in 2012: It’s All About the Money?

[Note: Snagged spotlights some of the latest and most stimulating articles on educational technology. This article by Sam Dillon was emailed to me by ETCJ associate editor Bonnie Bracey Sutton. Please send your catch of the day to me, jamess@hawaii.edu, for possible snagging. -Editor]

In his article, “In Washington, Large Rewards in Teacher Pay“* (NY Times, 12.31.11), Sam Dillon quotes Eric A. Hanushek, a Stanford University professor of economics: “‘The most important role for incentives is in shaping who enters the teaching profession and who stays. Washington’s incentive system will attract talented teachers, and it’ll help keep the best ones.'”

It’s tough to argue against attracting and retaining the crème de la crème, but is there a downside to this apparent solution to teacher quality? Dillon quotes Nathan Saunders, president of the Washington Teachers Union: “‘This boutique program discourages teachers from working together.'”

Bonnie says, “I am not sure what to do with this. In my mind there are lots of teachers who have worked under trying conditions, but in sharing this article I got a lot of push back from teachers. Here’s the thing: most people pointed out to me that the large rewards are not normal and, of course, that there are outstanding teachers who are run out of the school by the others.”

Bonnie asks, “What do you think?”

Please share your thoughts with us as a comment to this article. If you encounter problems posting, email your comment to me and I’ll post it for you. -Jim (jamess@hawaii.edu)
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* Click here for the Webcite alternative.

5 Responses

  1. To begin with, this is a discussion in which all should take part. The quality of teaching for the bulk of our children shapes our future as a nation.

    The remark about attracting and retaining the best possible teachers hits squarely home. I know that improving salaries is only a part of the solution, but it’s likely the best first step. Given our current economy, it may produce results sooner than many think.

    Increasing pay is not the same thing as pay incentives, however. I have yet to read such a proposal that would really work. Using test data hasn’t worked for a variety of reasons. With adequate technology in place, you could compare student achievement at the beginning of a school year to that at the end and design a reasonable metric for improvement, but you’d still have to overcome the temptation to teach to the test.

    Teachers in DC have to sign away their job guarantees to get the bonuses, and some have turned down the extra money for that reason.

    As for cooperation, I have to ask how much cooperation you currently see, how changes in pay structure will affect that cooperation, and how a change in cooperation will impact students. I suspect that the answer to all three is “not much” based on a limited experience with high schools. I’d be interested in more extensive experience, especially regarding how widespread teacher cooperation in improving classroom learning is.

  2. Thank you for your reply. I foegot to share that unlike nurses, teachers cannot move from state to state and be employed as a matter of course.
    Each state is responsible for setting the requirements that are necessary for a person to become a teacher. However, all states generally require at least three things: a bachelor’s degree in an area of education that the individual can be certified for; training in teaching methods; and experience as a student teacher.
    There are a number of states that additionally require that teachers
    must pass standardized exams in their subject at the national and state level, and be evaluated by various private, local and state organizations in their initial teaching years.

    Read more: What Is Teacher Credentialing? | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_4604004_what-teacher-credentialing.html#ixzz1iVS0yOXN

    Then there is the problem of inequality within school systems.
    Pick the wrong school and you may never want to teach again unless you are an Iron Teacher.. and I was. But it can be hell.

    Read new NCTAF report,
    released on June 24th, 2011:
    STEM Teachers in Professional Learning Communities: From Good Teachers to Great Teaching
    This report summarizes a two-year NSF-funded analysis of research studies that document what happens when science, technology, engineering, and math teachers work together in professional learning communities to improve teaching and increase student achievement.
    nctaf just won an AMJEN prize for their work.

    Breaking News: NCTAF Wins a Judges’ Award and a Special Focus Award from the Amgen Foundation!
    NCTAF has been recognized in the Partnering for Excellence competition for our
    STEM Learning Studios innovation that demonstrates an effective partnership model enhancing STEM learning through inquiry-based methods.
    Read the press releases.

    Watch the NEW video about NCTAF Learning Studios!

  3. Was it , is it the money for those who are passionate about teaching?

    Here is a person who was teaching , actually one of my teachers, in the parochial school, a mission school, in Alexandria , Virginia.
    This nun, has no social security, the last I heard of the group of Oblates who were teaching nuns, they were seeking charity to help buy clothing, food and the things they needed to live well. Last Thanksgiving they were talking about having go to not new shops to
    find shoes and sweaters.

    Visions of faith: Sister Mary Alice … Katherine Frey / The Washington Post. Related Content. … Photo Store; Twitter; Washington Post Live; The Washington Post. About Us;
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/visions-of-faith-sister-mary-alice...

    In my generation, teacher salaries were ok at the beginning, it was at the end of the career that one notices that a $200 raise once a year were what happened … not insulting until you read the article about the young woman in Washington DC who is getting funding because of the scores of her children.
    Someone owes me a boatload of money, if that is the way that teacher accuracy and knowledge is shared, but the reality is that at this point
    we hear the concerns about teacher retirements breakaing the system.
    Are they kidding me? Cruelty … in a way to those of us who taught because we wanted to make a difference in the lives of children.

    I have a friend who is a Safeway clerk who razzes me about my retirement pay and benefits.

    So reading the article.. I think there are lots of teachers who gave their all who are being demonized.. and why?

    Is teaching an artisanal event?

    Is teaching a vendored business ?

    Do we rely on variables to understand the children we teach and do our best?

    Who speaks for the rural, distant and unconnected who have
    a harder task?

    I am just saying….

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