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A Proposed Compromise Regarding Teacher Compensation

A Proposed Compromise Regarding Teacher Compensation

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Published by Jack Davis
The BC Teachers' Federation and BC Government are in a dispute over pay. My solution: Pay teachers more, but fire the very worst of them.
The BC Teachers' Federation and BC Government are in a dispute over pay. My solution: Pay teachers more, but fire the very worst of them.

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Published by: Jack Davis on Mar 02, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Dear Susan Lambert, Hon. Christy Clark
Compensate teachers more favourably, but fire the very worst of them.
Both Sides Have Valid ArgumentsPeople are not happy with teachers. A lot of people see them to be in a position of unparalleledtenure in a time when most other fields, even in the public sector, have seen substantial layoffsand instability in the last five years. Education is a very large part of a provincial budget which isalready squeezes by an anaemic GDP.However, teaching is hard work, and in many fields it's underpaid compared to its conjugate jobs. A chemist makes more than a chemistry teacher. Graduates of education degrees makeless than graduates of most other fields among respondents of surveys (statistical issues aside).It's not a lot of compensation for the benefit provided.The Tradeoff Teachers are paid less, but this is in part made up by stability. A doctor or a lawyer is nearly 50times as likely as a teacher to lose his or her credentials. Compensation comes with a tradeoff of accountability.Some people have bad days or even years if they're adjusting to a life change or working with anew grade in an unfamiliar subject. The BCTF does a good job of protecting these teachers sothey can continue to focus on their job instead of worrying about the future. Keep doing this.However, when a teacher gets a mass of student and parent and even peer complaints yearafter year, that teacher is being protected unduly at the expense of students. These are theones that get remembered, please stop letting them represent the BCTF.
 Personal experienceI have personally seen a teacher inspire a barrage of registered complaints regularly over aperiod of seven years to no change in staffing arrangements or teaching quality.Some subjects are hard (this one was math), and are more likely to get complaints than others,but surely there's a record of these and a few bad apples can be identified. This teacher wasespecially frustrating because, as a senior, I offered to teach a parallel class to this teacher'sclass for free to help the students and was shut down by administration because they wereafraid of union action.What part of that is for the sake of the students?It hurts teachers as a whole too. It makes their system look bad, and they have to spendadditional time undoing the damage of their peers in later grades (or the same grade repeated)to achieve the same results. This vast majority of teachers, who entered into their professionbecause they wanted to make a difference, are having their power to improve the worlddiminished by the rare lead weight in their system.This Solution is PracticalWe have a glut of recent B.Ed. graduates in the waiting list for jobs, in some districts (e.g. WestKelowna) people have been on this list for 3 years. This means that many jobs could be replacedin a snap. These grads aren't waiting forever, they're going to other provinces and countries,and the public investment in their post-secondary education is going with them.Recent B.Ed. grads have no seniority, so they would make less money than the teacher beingreplaced. This savings would be ongoing because in the coming years they will still make lessmoney than the replaced teacher would.

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