The pay rates of education professionals are usually based on the amount of education and the number of years of service that the educator has. In public school settings, salaries typically aren’t negotiated and are only adjusted when an educator earns a higher degree or completes additional years of service. If an educator wishes to make more money for his or her work the options are limited. He or she may opt to attend graduate school in order to earn a new degree in an education field, seek part time employment inside or outside the school district, or try to obtain a position within the field that lies outside of the classroom.
Talent nor extraordinary professional expertise have any bearing on an individual educator’s salary if he or she wishes to remain a classroom teacher. Given the options, most exemplary educators will opt to seek work outside of the classroom in order to command a salary that is commensurate with his or her experience and expertise.
This is acceptable until we realize that we are essentially telling the people who are the best at teaching children that we will only reward them for their service and expertise…if they stop working directly with children. We are far too accepting of the departure of effective teachers from the classroom in order to justify paying them more for their knowledge and expertise.
I applaud the educators who have a passion for the field and who go on to become building administrators, instructional coaches, or central office employees because they have the talent, skill, and desire to take on a new challenge, or those who wish to serve their school district in a different capacity. However, I wonder how many teachers leave the classroom for the promise of a larger paycheck rather than because they are interested in doing something different in the field. How many of those administrators and coaches would have stayed in the classroom if they could be compensated for exemplary service in their current position?
I don’t know the answer to that question, but I would hazard a guess and say that many of the individuals who have gone on to jobs outside of the classroom would have remained classroom teachers if an evaluation tool that could fairly and consistently evaluate their effectiveness and on which to base adjustments in compensation, existed.
What are your thoughts on the matter ? Do you think teachers are fairly compensated ? Do you believe they should have the ability to negotiate their salary based on their experience and history of service?