Draft Letter to the Editor Re: Supporting Rational Approaches to Teacher Compensation From Mobilization Group I – 2008 Legislative Assembly

I am writing to you as one of the 144,000 members of the Washington State PTA which endorses the work underway within our State Legislature to redefine Basic Education and fully fund it as required by our state constitution. There are huge inequities in the way we currently fund education and a significant part of the problem is the way we compensate our teachers. Washington State’s teachers are some of the lowest paid in the nation; and there are unacceptable differences in teacher compensation between districts throughout the state. Washington State PTA agrees with (the____ study) that teachers are the single most powerful influence on student performance. Our current compensation system only rewards a teacher’s length of service and level of education, neither of which are shownto have any effect on student performance. These criteria, by themselves, are not enough to enable us to recruit and retain the best teachers for our children. We lose 50% of our teachers within their first five years of service. This costs the taxpayers (insert $$ amount if known) to train new teachers; and it costs our students in time lost in the classroom while new teachers get comfortable in their new profession. Washington State PTA supports efforts to develop a more rational approach to compensating teachers. We need to establish a higher level of base payto make teaching more market competitive with other professions. And we need to find a way to reward the work of the best teachers – those who motivate our students to do their best and those who work to keep themselves at the forefront of their profession. We need to recognize the important role teachers play in preparing our workforce of the future and reward them for it. Having well educated students who are prepared to be the future leaders of our society is important to all citizens. It is in all of our best interest to work toward this goal. I urge you to learn more and you can start by visiting www.wastatepta.org.

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