Pay six-figure salaries to top teachers, argues a Goldwater Institute report by Matthew Ladner. It’s easily affordable by increasing class size, which would give more students access to the best teachers.
. . . Students learning from three highly effective instructors in three successive grades learn 50 percent more than students who have three consecutive ineffective instructors. These results are consistent across subjects and occur after controlling for student factors. Teacher quality is 10 to 20 times more important than variation in average class sizes, within the observable range.
They propose using value-added assessment to identify “master teachers.” These high-fliers would be asked to teach more students in exchange for two-thirds of the revenue for the added students. Class sizes in the low 30s could generation six-figure incomes for top teachers, even in Arizona, which has relatively low teacher pay.
It’s already happening, in a quiet way, writes Stephen Sawchuck on EdWeek. Principals ask their best teachers if they’ll accept more students in exchange for more pay. The school saves by not having to hire a new teacher.
In some places, average (or very bad) teachers earn more than $100,000. Take Francisco Garabitos, the computer teacher who threatened to blow up his Bronx school after he was suspended for allegedly attacking a student. From the New York Times:
A spokesman for the school system said Mr. Garabitos’s service has included more than a dozen allegations of misconduct, mostly for corporal punishment of students. Two of the allegations have been substantiated and two remain under investigation, including Thursday’s incident.
Twice in the last three years, Mr. Garabitos spent time in a reassignment center for teachers and other school officials removed from the schools. He also received two unsatisfactory ratings from the principal of his school. Because of his long experience and advanced degrees, Mr. Garabitos earned $100,049 a year.
He’s still on the payroll, complains the New York Daily News.