by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
The Atlantic published a thoughtful article last week, What If America’s Teachers Made More Money?, that examines the evidence behind teacher compensation, recruitment, and retention. Author Alia Wong writes,
In places already struggling with shortages and those resorting to mass emergency certifications, the challenge is finding new teachers who are qualified, competent, and dedicated to the profession. Achieving this goal, researchers say, is complicated—something that a few extra hundred, or even thousand, dollars alone won’t solve. “If you want to improve the pipeline of new teachers, you have to start early,” said Sean Corcoran, an associate professor of educational economics at NYU who has conducted extensive research on the U.S. teaching force. “Raising salaries today is not going to increase the quality of recruits tomorrow.”
Wong points out that the issue is complex. While compensation is a serious consideration, there are other structural issues that need to be addressed – bureaucracy, working conditions, burnout, initiative churn, and the list goes on.
She points out that compensation may function as a short-term stabilizer, but the long-term solution may require changing the workplace, something that a number of innovative charter schools have already done.