Lower pay for math, science teachers

Math and science teachers earn less than their colleagues in 19 of 30 large districts in Washington state, reports the Center on Reinventing Public Education. That’s because salary schedules reward only longevity and graduate credits.

The analysis finds that in twenty-five of the thirty largest districts, math and science teachers had fewer years of teaching experience due to higher turnover — an indication that labor market forces do indeed vary with subject matter expertise.

Differential pay for high-demand skills would keep more math and science teachers in the classroom.

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Comments

  1. I’m a math teacher with an engineering degree, but I’m still okay with the salary schedule. English is necessary, too. As is art and music and history and science and computers and languages and woodshop and tech program and forestry and, and, and. Only a few students are going to specialize in math — one could make the argument that the other teachers are more valuable to more students.

    The fact that those with a STEM degree can and do move on to other options is sad but also a good motivator. “Hey, kids! Look what applying yourself in these subjects can do for you.”

    Most importantly, you can never pay those folks enough to keep them in the classroom, if they are chasing the dollar. The pay needs to be enough to keep money out of the conversation. The best way to do that is with the salary schedule. Then, there’s no administrative BS, favoritism, stupidity, etc. You don’t get worthless teachers (albeit with shiny degree) getting 5-figure signing bonuses and skipping out after a year or two.

    I’d embed Dan Pink talk on motivation but it’s easier to go here;
    http://mathcurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2010/06/incentives-ill-make-teacher-merit-pay.html

  2. Right. It isn’t the money chasing them out. In most of the country, there isn’t a huge difference between 4th and 10th step, for example.

    Oh, here’s an idea. Maybe it’s crap like the LATimes debacle.

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