Give Teachers 40% More, but With Caveats

'WSJ' columnist says certification needs to be better to ensure higher-quality teachers
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2018 12:26 PM CDT
Give Teachers 40% Raise— but They Need to Work for It
Maranto's pay raise suggestion comes with caveats.   (Getty Images/skynesher)

Robert Maranto thinks public school teachers should be paid more—up to 40% more, in fact. But they'll have to work for it, he writes in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, because "you can't get something for nothing." Maranto talks about differing viewpoints on teacher pay: liberals think this woman-dominated field remains underpaid, populists think teachers do just fine as is with their pensions and working conditions, and a third group thinks wages should only be raised for certain teachers in specialized subjects or low-income areas, where there are teacher shortages. But Maranto thinks all of these philosophies are "inadequate," and he instead lobbies for greater pay—"but only in exchange for real reforms to improve teacher quality."

By his measure, higher pay means a 40% raise that would put teachers' wages (currently at a median $58,000) above that of accountants ($68,000) and on par with civil engineers ($84,000), which would attract "brainy people" who might otherwise go to college for more lucrative careers. But Maranto thinks that teacher certification should be more rigid and that schools should be more easily able to fire low-performing teachers—"just as medical practices and law firms can fire ineffective doctors and lawyers." He acknowledges teacher unions won't be happy about that, and there's always the fear of rogue principals firing away at will, but he offers a gentle reminder: "Nearly all principals are former teachers. Recruiting better teachers will result in better principals down the road." More from Maranto here. (Foreign workers are filling the teacher slots Americans won't accept.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.