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NYT: Higher Teacher Pay Key to Results?

Original post made by Pay More, Get More, Esther Clark Park, on Mar 7, 2008

This article from this morning's NY Times tells about a test that higher teacher pay will give better educational results. Web Link

"The school’s creator and first principal, Zeke M. Vanderhoek, contends that high salaries will lure the best teachers. He says he wants to put into practice the conclusion reached by a growing body of research: that teacher quality — not star principals, laptop computers or abundant electives — is the crucial ingredient for success.

“I would much rather put a phenomenal, great teacher in a field with 30 kids and nothing else than take the mediocre teacher and give them half the number of students and give them all the technology in the world,” said Mr. Vanderhoek."

Will it work? Should we try it here?

Comments (6)

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Posted by Barney Morgan
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 7, 2008 at 9:11 am

California's average teacher salary is the highest in the nation by a wide amount (about $10,000 per year greater than #2 New Jersey). If high teacher pay led to high student performance, we wouldn't be producing students who need remedial classes to keep up in community colleges as about half of such students do.

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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 7, 2008 at 1:56 pm

There is such a huge difference in what people - especially the brightest students with math, science or engineering degrees - can make in industry vs teaching that a mere 10K means little. We need a fundamental shift in how we structure and fund schools and how we value teachers.

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Posted by EdDad
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 7, 2008 at 4:00 pm


Maybe. But the cost of living here is also higher than in most places, so the same salary doesn't go as far....

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Posted by perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 8, 2008 at 11:31 am

That, I think, is the point, EdDad.

Higher pay doesn't mean better teachers or better education.

That is fuzzy, thinking, y'all. Way too many variables...the areas that can pay more, make more..if families make more, the odds are they are more educated and married,...if they are married and educated, they have the values that produce kids who become more educated.

There is the "self-selection" part of a process that is happening there.

It is like concluding that "acting" must be genetic because a higher percentage of actors' kids end up in acting.

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Posted by R Wray
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 8, 2008 at 11:53 am

The whole process of state college training of teachers is corrupt. Potential teachers learn practically nothing at these places and what they do learn about a few teaching techniques could be taught in a class or two. Teachers need to learn course content and prove that they know it. Until teacher requirements are completely revamped, throwing more money at them is mostly useless.

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Posted by EdDad
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 8, 2008 at 11:54 am


You missed my point. Barney pointed to California and said higher salaries don't lead to better student performance. But that doesn't follow, since the cost of living here is much higher. Apart from the variables you mention, you'd also need to index salaries to the local cost of living to even begin to make the claim.

A dollar in Tulsa isn't a dollar in Palo Alto.

Looking abroad, it's obvious that many countries have tremendously successful educational systems and spend much less money than we do. At the same time, the low status of teachers here and their low pay guarantee our huge teacher turnover. It means there are lots of young teachers who get burned out. The ones who stick it out are sometimes dedicated, gifted teachers. Sometimes they are drones who don't belong in a classroom.

In any case, the NY school will make a good test case.

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