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Opinion: If We Want High-Quality Teachers, We Need to Pay Them More

Opinion: If We Want High-Quality Teachers, We Need to Pay Them More

There have been recent efforts by the Obama Administration to bring the most high-quality teachers into classrooms across the country, and one teacher said that in order to attract the highest quality teachers, schools must increase their salaries.

"The most influential factor in any classroom is not the common core standards. Nor is it the burden of tests. It is the teacher," said Noel Taylor, former Princeton City Schools administrator in an article on "For one school year each teacher is the primary education influence in every child’s life."

Taylor said that in today’s world of education, "the rising number of retirees is creating an increased demand from a decreasing pool of prospective teacher replacements at all grade levels and fields of study. With so many other professions competing for talented college graduates, schools can no longer count on a pool of high quality candidates to fill vacant positions."

"Stagnant or decreasing revenues have diminished the ability for many school districts to compete with other professions in terms of attracting the best and brightest candidates into their classrooms," Taylor said. "For example, just this past month the stream of revenue had become so limited in Philadelphia’s public school system, the board of education was forced to arbitrarily suspend the payment of benefits not required by state or federal law."

Taylor said "states and local districts can and should work in unison to create more desirable salary and benefit incentives for college graduates to pursue teaching." The first option Taylor suggested is that "traditional salary schedules should be revised by local district bargaining teams to incorporate a single salary for a four to five year period rather than the current single year steps."

"For example, a guaranteed annual salary of $45,000, a figure $10,000 below Ohio’s median teachers’ salary, for four years would be more competitive for entry level positions than first year salaries offered today," he said. "After a teacher completes the fourth year, he/she would move to the negotiated traditional salary schedule."

A second option, Taylor said, is for states to "identify the specific critical fields, then supplement base salaries with four year renewable grants."

"This supportive action from the state removes a very sensitive item from a local district’s negotiations’ table, while fulfilling a need to give Ohio’s students the quality of education in these fields needed to prepare for college and future employment," Taylor said. "Increasing entry level salaries is not the only thing local boards of education and states need to consider to attract the best and the brightest in the field of education, but it is certainly a major step in the right direction."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor 

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