Seems pretty trivial these days, what with terrorism, gun violence and dirty politics in the news, but teacher pay in America is still dismal.
The world looks to Finland when it comes to education, yet their teacher pay is about average in the world. America pays teachers less than Finland does – less than the average. Not only that, teaching is prestigious in Finland, the teachers are well-respected by everyone. Observe a class in a public high school here and I doubt you would find a high level of respect coming from students to teacher.
This article, written by Dick Startz (Professor of Economics, UC Santa Barbara), outlines the issues with underpaying teachers. Yes, many teachers in the United States love their job. They teach very well, despite the low pay. But maybe there are other people out there – highly qualified, passionate educators – who do not pursue teaching because the of the low salary.
There is a lot of waste of money in education. Nearly 50% of all teachers in the United States quit within the first five years of teaching. It’s not simply a question of salary. Teachers – especially math teachers – feel a lack of classroom autonomy. Autonomy is essential for satisfaction in ANY job. But if you couple a low salary with lack of independence, it’s a career killer.
We have a lot of work to do. We need to demand equal rights for all, we need to have gun control and we need to fix broken systems. Give teachers more respect, equitable pay, and more autonomy in the classroom.