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Study: Reforming Rigid Salary Structure in Schools Could Ease Teacher Shortages, Benefit Students and Taxpayers
For Immediate Release September 6, 2005
(Alexandria, VA) -- Back-to-school season is the perfect time for education officials to revisit archaic pay rules that are effectively locking high-demand teachers out of classrooms, a study released today from the 350,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) concludes. The non-partisan citizen group's analysis found that schools need to adopt modern merit-based salary structures that help private-sector firms efficiently meet their demands for skilled labor.
"Simply tossing more money at prospective teachers will do very little to raise the quality of education in America," said study author Matt Schultz, who served as an Associate Policy Analyst for NTU. "In order to successfully address teacher shortages in critical specialties, school districts must be free to pay more money for the type of teachers they demand without paying a premium for others."
Recently, labor leaders have intensified their campaign for higher instructor salaries across the board, a costly move the author contends will only further harm Americans who've already been hit with huge local tax hikes (nationwide, property tax collections have jumped 25 percent over the past three years). Schultz believes that a better option is to reform the so-called "single salary schedule" (utilized by 96 percent of school districts) that compensates teachers based on level of education and years of experience rather than field of expertise or competence.
Among the findings of the study:
Schultz acknowledges that while resistance to changing the single salary schedule will be highest from entrenched labor unions, the task of reform is not impossible. "Teachers will respond to a properly-balanced system of incentives just like the rest of us," Schultz concluded. "Citizens and conscientious educators must stand up to the inflexible unions and get rid of the single salary schedule before any more money is spent propping up a broken system."
NTU is a non-profit organization working for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. Note: NTU Issue Brief 155, Single Salary Schedules for Teachers: Sabotaging Public Education and Wasting Taxpayers' Money, is available at www.ntu.org.