Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Teacher Pay

Teacher pay was addressed in two entertaining editorials in the Denver Post recently. First, libertarian talk show host Mike Rosen offered this piece comparing teacher pay to that of professional athletes. No fan of teachers, Rosen called out teachers for complaining they should be paid as well as professional athletes (a dubious charge that I have never heard a teacher utter). Rosen's piece was followed by this one from a former teacher and guest columnist Mark Moe, challenging Rosen's accusations and breaking down the flaws in Rosen's criticism of teachers.

Moe's response is an effective and thorough deconstruction of a standard Rosen commentary. Of course, it's worth noting the unique twist on Rosen's two subjects - professional sports and teaching. Rosen's piece, like the sports world, is meant to entertain, not to educate. Mark Moe provides the insightful anti-thesis.

In twenty years of teaching, I have never encountered teachers who argue they should be paid like professional athletes. However, I regularly hear that suggestion from others outside teaching. When people discuss education with me, they will inevitably lament the fact that pro athletes and movie stars are paid so much, while teachers aren't. I'm not so outraged, as I know it is basic economics.

Pro athletes are paid as they are for one simple reason - the money is there. Advertising for popular sporting events generates huge revenue. And I do not fault athletes for earning the money they do. By contrast, teaching generates no advertising revenue. Though, I am intrigued by the idea.

Perhaps, teachers could wear corporate logos on their shirts, as well as post ads around the room. Teachers could hand out tests and quizzes "sponsored by Subway or Nike." I envision coupons at the back of the textbook, encouraging students to do well and support the companies. Incentives for achievement could be provided by corporations. The highest test score could receive $50 off their next purchase of Reeboks. And the best teachers who hosted the most popular classes and produced the greatest results could generate even more endorsement deals. This could radically restructure school funding, and might even solve many of our budget issues.

Hmmmm. Rosen might be on to something.


2 comments:

Mrs. C said...

LOL Sorry! It's been tried before:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/18/business/media/18card.html?_r=1

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