Raise teacher pay without raising bar?

Nov 21, 2011 by



Deborah Simmons – Unions and their enablers will love this one.

But let’s be real: If really, really good teachers aren’t subjected to the risk of losing their “highly effective” status, then the Brown plan becomes a mechanism to drive up the costs of public education and still leaves thousands of D.C. kids behind.

In addition to the potential for teachers to pull in $35,000 on top of their base salary, Mr. Brown’s proposal includes other financial incentives for teachers:

• Homebuyer and other housing assistance: Granted, a majority of the D.C. teaching corps lives outside city limits, but how much will these new housing subsidies cost D.C. taxpayers?

• Tuition assistance: Dollar signs need to be attached to this proposal, too. For example, can Mr. Brown ensure that after taxpayers subsidize teachers’ master’s degrees that student academic-achievement levels will rise to new heights or that disciplinary problems will decline?

• Income-tax credits: This is a no-brainer. First, Mr. Brown’s bill burdens taxpayers with new housing subsidies, then it burdens them with new tuition subsidies, and the third angle mandates tax credits.

Here again lies the dunce factor: The annual education costs will steadily rise while academic expectations of students will remain low.

We need to thank our lucky stars for most teachers, especially those who chose to serve in urban and rural school districts. America would be on ground zero without such noble do-gooders.

Mr. Brown, a Democrat, deserves credit for trying to begin to turn around those 57 schools that simply don’t measure up.

And he’s right to point out that “teachers often hesitate to teach in low-performing schools because they worry about teaching students whose skills are significantly below grade-level and about challenges with classroom discipline.”

However, he is way off the mark to propose legislation that tags D.C. public education with an incredibly high price minus any guarantees.

Surely Mr. Brown wouldn’t spend money on a major purchase, such as an SUV, without a warranty that guarantees performance.

If the chairman wants buy-in from taxpayers, he should return to his own chalkboard and rewrite the Highly Effective Teacher Incentive Act.

• Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com

via SIMMONS: Raise teacher pay without raising bar? – Washington Times.

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