Paying Teachers More

You hear it all the time: you get what you pay for.

rbrb_2779The Curmudgeon has written about this before: underpaid teachers, especially in Philadelphia, where there’s an acute shortage of teachers and the school district is in the midst of planning its most extensive summer school program in years, in large part to serve students who’ve essentially wasted a year in school because the school year’s almost over and they never had a full-time, certified teacher in their classroom.

Why no teachers? Because other school districts pay more.

As it turns out, teachers need to eat, too.

And not just in Philadelphia, it’s especially hard both to get good teachers and to get those teachers to agree to teach where their skills are needed most.

If you owned a business and needed someone with special skills, you’d create a position and offer the kind of salary commensurate with the skills you need, a salary that would attract applicants and give you an opportunity to find the right person to meet your needs.

Now, a school district in Florida is considering doing exactly that.

Officials of the Pinellas County school district are proposing to increase salaries $20,000 to $25,000 a year for teachers at five specific, struggling elementary schools. If the proposal is adopted, teachers will have to interview for the positions and school officials will pick the best of the applicants for the job.

And they hope to get what they’re paying for: the best teachers.

We talk a lot about running government more like a business. Well, this proposal would do exactly that. You want teachers? Pay enough to attract people to the teaching profession. You want the best teachers? Find them and pay them more.

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