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Teacher Professionalism Part II
Most professionals do not have “cook book” salaries. They also are not in cooperation dampening competition as suggested in the union talking points. Their requirements are diverse and their rewards are tailored to how well they meet their requirements (given environmental factors). Sometimes group cooperation plays and sometimes it does not. If teachers are professionals than an appropriate reward system can be created that acknowledges superior performance and corrects deficient performance. I believe that our state calls the annual increases for the professional staff at KU “merit pay”.
Yes, I am certain that the rewards system employed across our professional world has warts. Our entertainment industry highlights the beautiful young lawyer called upon for services not normally expected in order to make the coveted position of “partner”. That will happen as long as there are people in the system. It should not become the generalized union talking point to discourage rewarding superior educators (or removing marginal performers).
I again want to emphasize that I am not attacking our teachers but their union. I lack access to the kind of salary and benefits information available to our administration. They are in a much better position to determine what is fair and appropriate remuneration. I do have two points for them.
The citizens of Lawrence do not have the income levels of the citizens of the school districts in Johnson County – they have an advantage. If we are to tax ourselves to overcome that advantage we need to make sure there is a consensus among the actual property tax payers (less then half our population) and not just parents with children in our system.
Secondly, money does not directly translate into quality education (despite the union talking points). The management of our educational resources is a factor as is the demands we place on the parents of our students. Our negotiations with our teachers’ “union” needs to address some of the “contract” limited management tools our administrators need to better motivate our professional work force. Outside those negotiations our school leaders need to look to methods to enhance parental involvement (perhaps even legally imposed requirements). If can demand snow shoveling then we should be able to demand parental involvement in the interest of the child.