Union leader: Schools, economy will only improve if teachers get a raise

Mar 7, 2013 by

NORFOLK, Va. – The president of Norfolk’s teachers union is telling residents the best way to improve the city’s economy would be to give teachers a 5 percent pay raise and cancel plans to make them pay more toward their own health insurance.

Norfolk Federation of Teachers President Thomas Calhoun told WAVY.com that increasing teacher compensation will lead to better schools, which will attract more families to the city of Norfolk.ransom note

He said city leaders should make school improvement – through increased funding – a priority.

“If schools do badly, do (families) stay here? No. They’ll go to Virginia Beach,” Calhoun told the news site.

It’s a standard argument that teacher unions use to justify their financial demands. It’s also a ridiculous argument because it implies that teachers will suddenly become more effective, and their lesson plans more enlightening, once their paychecks get bigger.

Does that mean they’ve been holding back, and giving less than their best effort, while they wait for their demands to be met?

Union leaders say higher salaries will attract better teaching candidates. That may be true, but that’s only a benefit to the community if school administrators have the legal authority to replace their ineffective veteran teachers with promising upstarts.

Without giving veteran teachers more latitude in hiring decisions (which unions vehemently oppose), higher wages would simply leave school districts paying more money for the same product.

Calhoun is right about one thing: Norfolk families need better schools. PilotOnline.com reports that Norfolk Public Schools are among the worst in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

But the school district is running an $18.4 million deficit for the current school year, and is preparing to cut as many as 100 full-time positions for the next school year. District leaders are also looking at huge expenditures for building construction, maintenance and new computers.

If school leaders were to give in to the NFT’s wage and benefit demands, it would only make a bad financial situation even worse.

via Union leader: Schools, economy will only improve if teachers get a raise – EAGnews.org :: Education Research, Reporting, Analysis and Commentary.

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