In yesterday’s Charlotte Observer story, “Group of NC treasurer employees receives raises averaging $49,000,” my colleague Mitch Kokai pointed out, “When there is a market for a certain type of employee, it probably makes sense for a government to use market-based pay.”  That is what I would have expected him to say.

What I did not expect was that Alexandra Sirota, director of the liberal N.C. Budget & Tax Center, would take it one step further.  She remarked,

While the decision to shift to market-based (compensation) in the Treasury may be a good policy move in order to retain top talent, it raises a lot of questions about why such an approach isn’t being used for the classroom as well, for example.

I suspect that Mitch agrees that market-based pay is appropriate for classroom teachers.  I certainly do.

So, here are a few ways that we – the Left and the Right – can make this right:

1. Establish market-based pay levels for positions in short supply, namely math, science, and special education teachers.

2. Retain top talent by rewarding outstanding teachers with performance- or service-based salary supplements.

3. Eliminate the statewide salary schedule and allow school districts to pay teachers based on market conditions.