All of the discussion of teacher and principal pay during the recent Tacoma teachers’ strike and since has missed a critical point: Pay should reflect performance.
Americans pay more per student than any other country to have our children educated, yet we are not getting nearly what we pay for. Using baseball as an analogy, we are equivalent to the Yankees in paying our “players,” yet we are akin to the Cubs or Mariners in resulting performance.
We are not only failing our children, but we are failing America, since our nation has been experiencing severe shortages of graduates in science, mathematics and computer science, and the short- and long-term outlook is for continued shortages.
This issue is even more critical than the debt issue hanging over us, and it is related to the jobs issue since we cannot provide sufficient unmbers of qualified graduates for the jobs available.
Charter schools, public “magnet” schools, and vouchers to permit students to attend parochial and other private schools can all help. But they are not enough if America is to actually achieve the goals of George W. Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” initiative.
Am I a fan of our former president? I am not, but his education initiative constitutes an instance where both his priorities and his plan were right on target.