Monday, April 21, 2008

Why we have lousy math teachers

The left-wing San Jose Mercury News newspaper has this editorial:
California faces a shortage of math and science teachers, ...

Paying these teachers more makes sense under the law of supply and demand. College graduates with math and science majors can choose from many lines of work - accountant, researcher, financial analyst - more lucrative than teaching. And if they do want to teach, they gravitate toward higher-performing schools.

But what would seem an obvious solution in the private sector is prohibited in K-12 schools in California. Under a standard union contract, teachers in all subjects must be paid on the same salary scale. ...

The CTA believes that all teachers, like assembly-line workers, should be paid the same wage. It argues that a "two-tier pay structure" will "corrode the morale and overall effectiveness of all the teachers at the site." That view ignores the needs of struggling children and the competition in the job market for math and science majors.
The result is that we have overpaid teachers who do not know how to teach math and science.

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