Most people will tell you that the most important ingredient in a school is the faculty. You want good schools? Hire good teachers. But of course, finding good teachers is tough because the job usually doesn’t pay all that well. Then add the requirements of No Child Left Behind and you can imagine how much harder it will be to find good teachers. Here’s an analogy.
A chief executive decides he wants better performance from his company. He issues a mandate that all employees be highly qualified. Then he proposes, as No Child Left Behind does, that the staff members be more tightly controlled, that they conform closely to his top-down directives and that they be tested yearly to keep their jobs. And he wants all of this without raising salaries a penny. Who would want to work for such an outfit?
Good point. Where do we get the money, though, for good teachers if people complain about taxes, especially property taxes, whence come teacher salaries?
One idea: every day, bonds are approved to build stadiums, even schools. The presumption is that the new buildings will increase the profile of a given city, thus attracting more visitors, more businesses, more families and more tax revenue, all of which will pay down the bond. By the same token, then, wouldn’t it make sense to create a bond to pay for better educators?
The district would get the best teachers, families would get better schools, businesses would settle in the city with the great public schools, property values would go up [Editors Note: Maybe not such a good reason to hire better teachers], and everyone would be happy. Especially the students, who would get the best educators, gain respect for the profession and might even consider becoming teachers themselves. The talent pool would then grow ever stronger, and in 20 years we could have created the best corps of teachers the country has ever known.
I admit that borrowing has its drawbacks. But what better investment can a community make than in its schools?