Picture this: You and a friend are walking by a school parking lot one day, when you notice a beautiful, new, expensive vehicle parked there. As you are admiring it, you look around and notice that the lot is full of other beautiful, new, expensive vehicles without a junker in sight. In amazement, you comment on this fact to your friend, who in turn laughs and says, “What’s so amazing about that? Everyone knows that teachers make an outrageous salary for the little amount of work they do!”
The idea that teachers make a comfortable living is not as widely accepted as your friend may lead you to believe. In fact, there is much debate about the idea of increasing teachers’ salaries. In all honesty, the declining rate of graduates entering the teaching workforce and the high pressure on teachers to produce well-rounded academic students often causes many Americans to readily agree that teachers should be paid more. Unfortunately, circumstances do not necessarily allow the government to give huge salary increases to the thousands of adults that teach America’s children. However, a growing number of people have put forth ideas that, if implemented, could reduce costs, give teachers better pay, and help to increase student academic achievement.
The aforementioned ideas are key facets of the movement to reform the way America pays its teachers. According to many researchers, the traditional way of paying and rewarding teachers has outlived its usefulness. With this in mind, many people are lobbying for policy solutions such as merit pay, disabled tenure, larger starting salaries, and more opportunity for quick advancement up the teaching pay scale.
In order to better examine the debate over teacher pay, rewards, and tenure, this library section presents a wide variety of research supporting both the common view of teacher pay--i.e. teachers should be paid more--and the unconventional view--i.e. teachers already receive a higher salary than others in comparable professions, and new ways of teacher compensation are needed.