I recently read a story that I've been kind of thinking about since. A man who worked for a teachers' union (UFT, specifically) decided that the union's non-teacher employees deserved the same benefits as the teachers they represented, and tried to get his coworkers unionized.
The UFT fired him.
It occurred to me that there was something wrong when the union doesn't want to give the same benefits to their employees that they fight for for the ones they represent.
After I thought about it for a while longer, I started to wonder: if the unions (the biggest business of them all) can't afford that kind of salary, benefits, and vacation package, can we, the taxpayers, afford that for all teachers?
I'm not saying that some teachers don't earn it. Many earn it many times over. Jaime Escalante is a very good example of "Whatever they're paying him, it isn't enough."
However, with dropout and fail rates increasing (though being hidden by schools' massaging of the numbers), literacy and numerical literacy rates falling to the point that some kids don't qualify for community college remedial math classes, and students (and employers) holding the opinion that people have to have a degree to be qualified to work, maybe we can't afford to keep giving our teachers so much.
We've proved over the past quarter of a century that throwing more money at the problem hasn't solved it. Teachers' unions stand firmly against merit pay bonuses, so maybe starting teachers and ineffective teachers need to be forced into pay and benefit cuts.
Effectively, yeah: that may be classified as merit pay. But it's really not that hard to determine which teachers deserve it. All we have to do is compare apples to apples: test all students in one school grade, with the same test, at the beginning and end of the year, throw out the highest and lowest scorers in each class, and compare the medians. Students know who the best teachers are; why can't administrations figure it out?
12 minutes ago