This is Teacher Appreciation Week. Most of us, especially us girls, played teacher as kids. But young adults don’t want to become teachers. From personal experience, (teacher for 25 years and assistant principal for 5) I can understand why. Everyone says that no one becomes a teacher for the money. Today, many people choose not to become teachers because of the money.
I also understand that not attracting the “best and the brightest” to this “noble” profession has an impact on our nation’s standing in the world.
Charles M. Blow, whose mother was a teacher, wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times (5//12) in which he cites a 2010 McKinney & Company report that indicates that Finland and South Korea , top performing education nations, “recruit all their teachers from the top third of graduates.” Only 23% of U.S. teachers come from the top third of their classes and only 14% of those that teach in impoverished areas rank that high.
The report goes on to say that in 2010, the average starting salary for teachers was $39,000 a year. Only 18% of those in one study placed in the top third of their classes and who are not planning to teach, thought that the job “paid appropriately for the skills and effort I would bring.” If you asked those who actually teach, I would bet that the percentage would be much higher. Only 10% thought it offered a competitive starting salary. The average beginning salary for a registered nurse is $49,110, for engineers, $53,621, for a sous chef, $35,000 and for a paralegal, $30,000
We know that student scores are affected by the poverty levels of the student bodies. I don’t think that hard working teachers should be held accountable for those scores without out factoring in that fact.
I’d like President Obama, both houses of Congress, state and local governments and society as a whole to also factor in low teacher salaries, terrible working conditions and the overall lack of respect afforded to teachers when considering the nation’s scores. Let them be held accountable too.