Raising Teachers' Salaries to Improve Children's Education

It’s no secret: teachers in the USA are not given the respect they deserve. These are the people who are shaping America’s future, but in many states, they are underpaid for their invaluable services to today’s youth. Now, with President Obama’s desire to improve the quality of education that children in our nation receive, it’s time to step back and take a look at the important role that teachers have in this process.

“Teaching in the U.S. is unfortunately no longer a high-status occupation,” said Andreas Schleicher, who monitors an international achievement test known as Pisa. “Despite the characterization of some that teaching is an easy job, with short hours and summers off, the fact is that successful, dedicated teachers in the U.S. work long hours for little pay and, in many cases, insufficient support from their leadership.”

According to The New York Times, we can improve our education system by “recruiting more qualified candidates, training them better and paying them more.” This would cause us to have more dedicated and qualified teachers in the classroom, which would then lead to more globally-competitive students because the students would receive a higher quality of education.

In countries that are notorious for their high education standards, such as Korea, Singapore, and Finland, only high-performing college graduates are recruited for teaching positions. The schools then support their teachers by providing mentoring and help in their classrooms. As a result, teachers in these countries are highly respected.

“In South Korea, teachers are known as ‘nation builders,’ and I think it’s time we treated our teachers with the same level of respect,” said President Obama.

So how can we do this? According to the most recent Pisa, the USA needs to adopt common academic standards and develop better standardized tests to diagnose students’ learning needs. However, the most important recommendation is to “make a concerted effort to raise the status of the teaching process.”

One way to do this is to increase teachers’ salaries. The average elementary teacher made $44,172 in 2008. However, this figure is 13 percent lower than the average college graduate’s salary. Schleicher recommends investing in teachers’ salaries as a way to invest in our students’ futures.

“You can spend a lot of money on education, but if you don’t spend it wisely, on improving the quality of instruction, you won’t get higher student outcomes,” he said.

I agree. What do you think?








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