Teacher Pay And Student Performance
Published: August 8, 2019
Teaching is an underpaid profession. As a result, the quality of teachers is below what it would be if compensation were similar to industries of comparably skilled workers. However, merely raising pay across the board is not the answer. It is equally important to ensure that higher salaries go to the most effective teachers.
- What makes a teacher effective?
- Can raising teacher’s pay across the board attract high skilled individuals?
- Should teachers be paid based on performance?
- Read “Do Smarter Teachers Make Smarter Students?” by Eric Hanushek, Marc Piopiunik, and Simon Wiederhold. Available here.
- To read the academic paper this research is based on, read “Do Smarter Teachers Make Smarter Students? International Evidence on Teacher Cognitive Skills and Student Performance” by Eric Hanushek, Marc Piopiunik, and Simon Wiederhold, Available here.
- In “We Need Better Teachers,” Eric Hanushek argues that for the sake of K-12 students, we need to validate and reward our best instructors and get rid of our worst ones. Available here.
- Read “Do Smarter Teachers Make Smarter Students?” by Eric Hanushek, Marc Piopiunik, and Simon Wiederhold, available here.
Nearly everyone agrees that teachers are underpaid in the United States. One recent estimate finds that American teachers are paid about twenty percent less than comparably experienced and skilled college graduates doing other jobs in the workforce.
Underpaying teachers has an obvious negative consequence: We get lower quality teachers because people with higher skills go into professions that pay them more.
Ultimately, better teachers lead to better-educated students.
While it may seem like a simple fix, it’s not as simple as raising pay across the board as has been done in recent contract settlements.
After all, paying a bad teacher more money won’t turn them into a good teacher.
In the long run, making teaching a higher-paid profession would attract higher skilled people to consider teaching, but it wouldn’t guarantee that those who were hired would be the most talented teachers.
In other words, it is not enough for policymakers to raise teacher pay across the board. They have to also make sure that higher salaries go to the most effective teachers.