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Sunday, March 13, 2011

On teachers

Teachers have always been placed pretty low on the totem pole of American society, with those teaching the youngest children placed lowest on the totem pole and those teaching the eldest and most advanced (i.e., university professors dedicating their time exclusively to teaching doctoral seminars) having the highest position among teachers on the pole.

Someone should pull the pole out of the ground, turn it over, and plant it back in the ground, head down. All you have to do is look where the greatest "value added" is to be found. Is there more value added by teaching a toddler to read and write and become excited by learning or by teaching an aging Ph.D. scholar to find one more minor esoteric niche in an already narrowly defined field of esoterica? Nothing against the latter, but, please, if you want our resources to go where they have the most bang for the buck, they should be going to our elementary school teachers (or, more precisely, to the ones we might be able to attract to the profession if there were a few more bucks on the table).

Grade and high school teachers are not overpaid relative to their potential value to society. They are grossly underpaid, even taking into account the value of the non-financial compensation (job security, retirement security, and the like) that their unions have won for some of them.

2 Comments:

Blogger KISSWeb said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:08 PM  
Blogger KISSWeb said...

It's hard to compare added value, but there is one thing we do know about elementary school teachers: it was never lost on the policy makers that grade school teachers were mostly women, and would be thrilled to take whatever "pin money" they were offered. Their historical pay level reflected that. While union representation has probably bit into that somewhat, Rome wasn't built in a day. The gap is still larger than it should be.

11:10 PM  

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