How should public education teacher salaries be determined?'s Teacher Poll of the Week
How should public education teacher salaries be determined?
Years of teaching experience
Students performance
Special teaching credentials; teacher education|92|gold

View Results

Teacher's salaries are a touchy subject and everyone seems to have an opinion about it. The majority of teachers who took this poll feel that salaries should be determined by years of teaching experience. Many institutions work in this manor, with seniority on the job site or within the designated union being an important determining factor when salary negotiations are conducted. Teaching skills, special credentials, and student performance were listed as the second most popular choice down to the least popular.

Tying teacher salaries to years on the work force is the quickest and easiest way to determine compensation while still maintaining a level of fairness. Special teaching credentials or continuing education is also fairly easily documented and finding a way to compensate for those things would be relatively uncomplicated. Ranking teachers by classroom skill or student performance is open to subjective analysis and as such would be a nightmare to implement. The number of extra staff required to assess skill would put a dent in school budgets and assessing students would be extremely problematic. Would teachers receive a certain addendum to their salary for each A or B their student's received? What's stopping a teacher from handing out an extra generous proportion of As? Would all students be assessed against the same scale? How about watching for improvement trends? One students B from the failure last year is a better result that another student raising their grade from a B+ to an A.

Tying teacher's salaries to anything that is not measurable is open to all manner of abuses. The number of years worked and documented proof of special credentials that are recognized by the school district is the fairest way to compensate teachers for their work. We trust that teachers are making their best effort with each and every student they instruct. Pitting them against one another and against their students as a way of determining wage undermines the entire educational system. In any process there will always be loopholes and complications and that is the case with the way salaries are currently calculated. A teacher who has been with a school district for many, many years but no longer gives their best effort will still receive more pay than the newer teacher who is still keen and eager and spends countless hours on continuing education in order to better themselves. Hopefully, this situation arises very infrequently. The injustices associated with any other form of compensation would be much worse.