October 31, 2011

I've argued for this for years

Interesting article here about teacher pay and subject taught:

There are 19 gym teachers in the Farmington School District who make more than $85,000 a year each. The average gym teacher's salary in Farmington is $75,035. By comparison, the science teachers in that district make $68,483 per year on average. Thatís not unusual in Michigan schools, according to Freedom of Information Act requests received from around the state. In the Woodhaven-Brownstown district, 18.5 (FTE) science teachers average some $58,400 per year in salary, while 12 gym teachers averaged nearly $76,700. In Harrison, science teachers earned $49,000 on average while gym teachers averaged $62,000. This is not unusual, because school districts donít differentiate what a teacher does when considering compensation, regardless of the district's educational needs. Teachers are paid on a single salary schedule based on seniority and education level.

And today that is just silly. Teachers in subject areas which are generally tougher to find -- math, science, foreign language -- should be paid more. That is, if you'd like an easier time finding them (and keeping them)! It shoudn't be too difficult for districts to make a case for such if they so wanted (just point out the demographics, applications vs. need, etc.); however, you can probably count on the various state and local unions to oppose it.

And in another aspect, here in Delaware, which teachers get the vast majority of the pressure from state testing? English and math teachers. Are they compensated for this? Heck, no. Should they be? Yes. Even teachers who do not teach a core subject area will be partly evaluated ... on the test scores of students in English and math. In other words, these non-core teachers rely on their English and math teaching colleagues to keep up good student test results ... so that they get good evaluations!! Aside from the inherent inanity in such an evaluation method, doesn't it make sense to compensate the teachers who bear the bulk of the testing pressure, i.e. English and math teachers??

Again, count me in as an emphatic "yes."

Posted by Hube at October 31, 2011 08:57 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

I'm curious how much of that gym teacher disparity comes from the addition of coaching stipends to their salaries.

Posted by: Rhymes With Right at October 31, 2011 11:11 PM

Did Markell ever reform the DSTP like he promised to when he was elected?

Posted by: Jeff the Baptist at November 1, 2011 05:24 AM

Jeff: The DSTP no longer exists. It's now called DCAS, is done via computer, and done three times per year. It's supposed to more easily demonstrate student growth. The downside is that it disrupts the school year significantly more.

Posted by: Hube at November 1, 2011 07:40 AM

Here in my neck of the woods, gym teachers/coaches often get paid more because not only do they teach an academic subject, they have their regular P.E. classes and usually coach different sports - which is lots of after-school hours and weekends. All of which makes sense. On the other hand, when society puts more emphasis on education and less on sports maybe the pay scale will change too. Then maybe academic teachers will have after-school programs in science or summer camps for math, etc.

I have never known a teacher who was fired for poor performance of students in academics, but I have known PE teachers/coaches who have been let go for their students poor performance. Once again - priorities of our society!

Posted by: Lou at November 3, 2011 07:58 AM

I teach and coach. Coaches in public schools do receive a stipend. It is nowhere near the cost of time and energy. Coaching is a labor of love. For the record most coaches are conservative.

Posted by: orestes at November 3, 2011 04:03 PM

I think it's a mistake to assume that all the PE teachers also coach, and that's what accounts for their pay. Many other teachers also coach and get the requisite stipends as well.

But orestes is right on -- the amount of time given for the amount of pay for coaching really ain't worth it if you examine it closely. It is indeed a labor of love.

Posted by: Hube at November 3, 2011 05:36 PM

I'm a retired H.S. English teacher. The main reason a lot of Science teachers don't make as much money is seniority. Science and Math teachers generally don't stick to teaching as long as teachers of other subjects. Science and Math teachers have the training to move into industry for better pay, and less stress.

Posted by: CharlieSays at November 6, 2011 02:49 AM