Friday, March 31, 2006


This post from C.B. Forgotston is spot on:

I realize that teacher pay is an important issue to teachers. However, I have yet to see a study that shows a direct relationship between higher teacher pay and educational achievement by the students. In fact, just the reverse seems to be the case. Jesuit High School in New Orleans is one of the top schools in the country yet its teacher pay scale (non-religious teachers) is below that of the New Orleans Public Schools.

I went to a school that is fairly similar to Jesuit, and like Jesuit St. Paul's is a much better school than the public schools in the parish. Also like Jesuit the teacher pay scale (non-religious) is lower than that of the public schools. Higher wages does not equal higher performance.


Anonymous dave said...

I think both you and the bit you've cited are ignoring a lot of other variables that influence student performance. Jesuit and St. Paul's draw their students from a very different demographic than the New Orleans public schools system, and with the demographic comes a lot of cultural difference. Students at Jesuit and St. Paul's are likely to have parents that take an interest in their education, make sure they're doing their homework, reward them for good performance, and instill the importance of good grades, going on to college, etc. They're also more likely to be well-behaved, and less prone to disruptive, even criminal behaviour. Many (not all) students in the New Orleans public schools, however, come from broken low-income homes where the parents take no interest in the kids whatsoever, where no one instills discipline and basic values, or makes them do their homework, or cares what kind of grades they make, or even makes sure they go to school at all. Many of these kids have no expectation of going to college; many don't care if they even finish high school. Further, public school teachers and administrators aren't allowed to discipline kids effectively, either. Those things make a difference in teachability and by extension the test results by which teacher performance is measured.

I would be willing to bet that if you studied situations where all other factors were equal, (student body demographics and culture, school facilities, resources, etc.) that higher paid teachers would score higher on performance evaluations. Why? Because if all things were equal, the best teachers would go where there's more money. As things exist now, the best teachers would rather take less money than teach a bunch of uninterested, undisciplined, even dangerous kids in poor facilities and without necessary resources.

1:40 PM  

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