Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Teacher Salaries

The New York Times has a good article on how teacher salary in Washington D.C. is now being based on in-class performance (think productivity) as opposed to the asinine system of using a scale based on years of service and amount of academic degrees.

Economically, paying employees based only on experience and academic degrees does not fit well with what teachers actually do - that is work with young people in the classroom.  Thus there is a lack of pay incentive to improve teaching individually, and a greater incentive to finish a Master's degree since the benefit is much greater to taking more college classes as opposed to finding inventive ways to teach.  Now experience does help one to be a better teacher, but at the margin my guess is that this levels off earlier than what you see on a typically school district teacher pay scale.  Further the scale treats everyone the same, thus marginal investments in teaching (as opposed to education) do not impact teacher pay, hence the incentive problem.

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