Skip to comments.How the NEA Could Really Help Solve the Issue of High-Need Teachers
Posted on 10/12/2012 8:00:17 AM PDT by MichCapCon
The National Education Association the largest union in the country and parent to the Michigan Education Association announced a plan recently to offer $500,000 in grants for new teachers in science, technology, engineering and math.
Calling for more STEM teachers, students and workers is en vogue right now with political leaders from President Barack Obama to Gov. Rick Snyder on down. But if the union and political leaders really want more and better teachers in those areas, they could do something very simple: Stop pushing for single-salary schedules that force public schools to pay high-need teachers the same as everyone else.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the subjects in Michigan that are experiencing teacher shortages typically include language specialists, special education, mathematics and a variety of science subjects. Yet the NEA and its affiliates aggressively fight to ensure all subject areas are paid the same, regardless of need.
For example, the NEA writes, Call it old-fashioned, like Mom and apple pie, but NEA still believes a short and strong salary schedule, with a minimum of $40,000 annual pay for teachers, is best. The union goes on to say that a single salary schedule that bases pay only on degree-level and longevity is the most fair.
Notwithstanding the curious analogy to societys beloved Mom and apple pie, this policy position has resulted in ludicrous examples of employment market distortions. Some examples from here in Michigan:
In the Troy Public School District, one-third of the 27 physical education teachers make more than $90,000 per year. Seven gym teachers make more money than Rebecca Brewer, an AP biology teacher in the district who was honored as the ING national Innovative Teacher of the Year. One of those teachers is an elementary gym teacher who makes $23,000 per year more than Terri McCormick an employee honored as the districts Teacher of the Year.
A FOIA request shows many districts with the same results.
The average gym teacher in the Farmington School District makes $8,000 more per year than the average science teacher despite the latter being a much higher need area. Even the NEA agrees. In Woodhaven-Brownstown, the average discrepancy is more than $18,000 per year ($58,400 for science teachers vs. $76,700 for physical education). In Harrison, the gym teachers make an average of $13,000 more.
Its good that the nations largest teachers union sees that areas of study are valued differently. But ensuring flexibility in hiring and compensation would do far more to solve the issue of putting better STEM teachers in the classroom than the grant money.
There is an army of retired scientists and engineers as well as many younger practicing ones who would love to teach but simply won’t put up with the “professional training” requirements that the unionized teaching industry revolves around, which contribute nothing to the quality of education and which amount to nothing more than hazing and indoctrination.
I call bull shit on the whole premise of the article.
I know of two kids that have gone into teaching in the last couple of years in Michigan. One spent two years right out of college teaching out of state at a non Union District. If there were any credibility to this story all those needed teachers would be teaching at Charter Schools or out of state schools making big bucks with no union meddling.
However it aint happening. Charter Schools-NON Union pay 30-35k starting for H.S. Science and Math teachers. That is a fact.
These articles are great for cherry picking a couple of high rent school districts and ignore the norn. All they had to do was a search of ads for teachers in the state.
Stop teaching the “fuzzy math” and get back to traditional math curriculum - more kids will enter high school years understanding math and will not be scared to make a career of science and engineering and even teaching math and science. Today’s kids aren’t taught to solve math problems, they are taught to feel good about hating math.