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Pay Teachers More & Raise Their Status

Conservative critics of education and some liberals have had a field day criticizing teachers, and their profession.  Critics range from the governors of Wisconsin and New Jersey and the Obama Secretary of Education, Arnie Duncan.

Two reports have focused on raising the status and pay of teachers.  Today, I will focus on the international report.

According to Andreas Schleicher, who works for the Organization of Co-operation and Development (OECD) the United States should raise the status of the teaching profession  by recruiting move qualified candidates, training them better and paying them more.  Mr. Schleicher oversee the international achievement test (PISA) states that top-scoring countries like Korea, Singapore and Finland recruit only high-performing college graduates for teaching positions, support them with mentoring, and take steps to raise respect and salaries for the profession.

“Despite the charcterization of some that teaching is an easy job, with short hours and summers off, the fact is that successful, dedicated teachers in the U.S. work long hours for little pay and in many cases, insufficient support from their leadership” stated Mr Schleicher.

The new report, “What the U.S. Can Learn from the World’s Most Successful Education Reform Efforts” states that the five things U.S. education can learn from the high performing countries include adopting common academic standards, developing better tests for use by teachers in diagnosing students’ day-to-day learning needs, training more effective school leaders and raising the status of the teaching profession (the top recommendation).

According to O,E.C.D. data, the average salary of a veteran elementary teacher in the U.S. was $44,172 in 2008, higher than the average of #39,426 across all O.E.C.D. countries (the figures were converted to compare the purchasing power of each currency.  But that salary was 40 percent below the average salary of other American college graduates.  In Finland, by comparison, the veteran teacher’s salary was 13 percent less than that of the average college graduate’s.

So the next time you read the criticism of America’s schools and educators, pull out this blog and show it to the critics. And remember, the governors who criticize the schools will be up for election or recall soon enough.  Educators do vote!

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