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EDUCATION: Editorial misses point on master’s pay

Letter by James M. Sawatzki, Tacoma on Nov. 29, 2010 at 9:55 am | 2 Comments »
November 29, 2010 1:23 pm

Re: “Master’s bump: $330 million a year for nothing” (editorial, 11-26).

Like a poor medical student, The News Tribune identifies a symptom in isolation and leaps to the wrong diagnosis. The real culprit gets passing mention in the article: “… something like 90 percent of teachers’ master’s degrees are earned in education courses, which are often lacking in focus and rigor.”

In fact, master’s degree compensation in Washington state was never about improving instructional quality. Rather, its purpose was to increase teacher pay – via “objective” criteria – and in so doing, increase teacher retention and attract talented individuals to the field.

Remember, at one point, the state Legislature, in its micromanaging wisdom, mandated that all public school teachers obtain a master’s degree, before it rescinded that decree in face of insurmountable logistical and financial considerations.

If one wishes to reduce government waste, target instead for elimination all public colleges of education which perpetuate a public fraud by pretending that education is in some shape or form a science. It is not; it is pure art.

All that ought to be necessary for employment as a teacher is a bachelor of arts or science appropriate to the content area posted, suitable communication skills, and a personality appropriate to the grade level and subject matter. Most teachers would be better prepared with a degree in theater arts than one in education.

Leave alone my just compensation achieved according to incentives approved by law and supplemented with 26 years of dedicated public service.

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