Author: Kate Bowers
Date: September 30, 2020
Source: My Fellow Teachers
“When parents are given the authority to direct the dollars allotted for their child’s education to the school of their choice, the teacher salary issue will be resolved. Teachers and their unions will be thrilled! The years-long cry bemoaning low teacher pay can be resolved. Here’s how:
Since the average amount spent per pupil in the United States is $12,201 as of 2019,* one teacher overseeing the education of 12 students for a 9-month period could earn a six-figure salary. 12 students times $12,201 equals $146,412. Parents would choose a teacher for their child and direct the roughly $1300 per month of their allowed education dollars toward the selected teacher’s educational services. A portion of that would pay for the lease of a location for the “schoolhouse”, another portion would cover the cost of curriculum and materials, and another the teacher’s salary. And a handsome salary it could be!
In New York, $23,091 is spent per student each year, which means a teacher in New York with a “one room school” would be allotted roughly $2500 per month per student. Voila! America’s teachers earn six-figure salaries, just as their union leadership does now.
This one room school, parental choice model solves other problems as well; got an unfunded public employee retirement benefit? Me too. With this one room school system, teachers in this predicament could decide how and where to invest their own money. You earned the money- you decide! A similar freedom-of-decision would happen with health insurance coverage. Nonunion professional liability insurance coverage options, which are currently available to all teachers, could expand.
And how about oversight of educational quality? If parents are dissatisfied with the one room school and teacher they’ve chosen, they are free to find a different teacher. Parents, teachers and students – the stakeholders in a child’s education – would be in direct communication and have decision-making power. Each family would be free to choose a teacher who shares their convictions and beliefs, thus eliminating the supposed idea that public education must be “neutral” and “secular”. (It never has been and never can be, by the way. It currently follows the religion of humanism.) Parents would have reason to exert pressure on teacher colleges to produce quality teachers, and be called on to become part of committees providing oversight of such programs.
The cost of schooling may ultimately be reduced for each community. Local control would mean the unique needs of each individual community could be met. A 12:1 student to teacher class ratio would mean each student would get personalized attention and the freedom to work at their own pace.
But hey, I’m just dreaming a little of the could be. . .
(One South Korean Hagwon teacher earned $25 million dollars over ten years of teaching; could American teachers do the same? Watch this short clip and decide for yourself: https://www.pbs.org/wnet/school-inc/video/look-hagwons-south-korea)
Kate Bowers is the recognized Teacher Shepherd for For Kids & Country. Her writings may also be viewed on her blog at My Fellow Teachers.