First note, this topic isn’t aimed at education of kids with a hearing loss, it’s just about education in the US in general.
Last week I saw someone post an article on Twitter about all the funding towards increasing technology for schools. Computers, networks, infrastructure, educational software programs, etc, etc. Billions of dollars each year. (That article is here: http://www.citejournal.org/vol1/iss1/currentissues/general/article1.htm but that isn’t the topic I’m posting on here, it’s just what inspired thought on the topic).
A discussion about this with Don got us talking about how the problem with education in this country is two fold. 1. Our society (at large) doesn’t value education. This is further emphasized by the second point. 2. Compensation for teachers is too low.
Ironically there were two articles in the NY Times that very day that covered both of these topics.
In Rising Above IQ the columnist discusses how the attitude of people towards education can lead to their success. He brushes on nature vs nurture and how IQ is not determined by genetics. I’m sure ‘home environment’ plays a key roll. People who are well educated themselves are very likely to push their children to reach high goals.
Perhaps the larger lesson is a very empowering one: success depends less on intellectual endowment than on perseverance and drive. As Professor Nisbett puts it, â€œIntelligence and academic achievement are very much under peopleâ€™s control.â€
On to point two, improving education by getting the best teachers. How does a corporation go about finding the best candidates for a job? They offer something attractive and then choose from the best resumes they receive. Does a school get to do this? Not with the salaries they typically offer. The average according to CBSalary.com is $46,000. Salary.com lists the 25th-75th percentile range as $41,000 and $61,000. This doesn’t as bad as I’ve heard, but it isn’t exactly prestigious either. As comparisons, an engineering manager averages $82,000 and ranges from $62,000 to $110,000. 25th percentile for Attorneys is $140,000 with bonuses and almost $200,000 for the 75th percentile. Since I have a lot of cochlear implanted readers, how about our surgeons? A Surgeon of Neurology ranges from $375,000 to $600,000 a year! That’s how you get the best people interested.
Yes, I’m glad my surgeon is highly trained and I suppose you don’t need that much training to teach kids to do math and science, but what happens when you increase the benefits of teaching to attract a wider range of experienced, motivated, well educated people?
The second NYTimes article (Next Test: Value of $125,000-a-Year Teachers) is a followup to a story I read last year. It’s about a charter school in NYC that will pay its teachers $125,000 a year. They are using all public funding except for that which covers their location. This means that the main difference in this school versus other charter schools is the teacher salary. They had over 800 people apply, interviewed 100 in person and chose 8.Â They are starting with just one grade and will add another grade next year.Â It’s an experiment that I’m looking forward to following along with.
I’m not saying that teaching school is easy and that paying a higher salary will solve all the problems.Â I just think that raising teacher salaries would kill two birds with one stone.Â We don’t value education, we don’t value our teachers, our country falls further and further behind.