Thursday, June 05, 2003

Grading Teachers 

Have unions in the teaching profession harmed the quality of teaching? An opinion piece in today's New York Times (registration required) thinks so. "Quality decreases whenever there are shortages of a service or commodity," says the author, a dean of a school of education. Naturally, he's opposed to increasing supply by reducing the licensing requirements ("it flies in the face of professionalism") but he does argue for merit pay.
With a dearth of teachers in fields like special education and mathematics, wouldn't it be appropriate to pay those teachers more, to attract more professionals into these critical areas? A differentiated salary schedule could also reward outstanding teachers and board-certified teachers. If the faculty union at City University of New York can agree to a contract permitting outstanding professors and those in hard-to-fill areas to get higher salaries, surely the teachers' unions can show some flexibility.
Well, it won't happen here in Minnesota. And only administrators get it in MnSCU. Not faculty.