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Are Teachers Professionals?
I would like to talk about teacher incomes and particularly about step increases. Those are periodic salary increases tied to longevity.
Teachers are professionals. They hold degrees. They are respected (most of the time). They get longevity step increases.
Other professionals outside government do not for the most part get longevity increases. They get annual salary reviews. If the business did well they may see a goodly increase. If the business did poorly they may see nothing (even a give back).
Teachers with tenure are well protected from layoffs. Most districts use the last hired first fired rule even if the particular teacher has special skills. There are no real meaningful assessments of performance and management has real problems terminating shallow performers. We complain about poor teachers while denying our educational management the means to “manage”
In the public sector if you are a professional and if you are not performing or if your particular skill is no longer required you have the glorious opportunity to move on. Management is responsible for the outcome of the business and is given the power to “manage” it.
Perhaps it is time that our school board negotiators put the annual step increase into a merit pay basket and instead of starting with a basic annual increase and adding to it as demanded by the union we start with the novel concept of earning the increase through performance.
Why should teachers see annual step increases and cost of living increases year after year? I agree we should not treat them poorly but in consideration of the professionals they are. we should treat them as all other professionals who earn their annual increases competitively.
Oh, by the by, we do not tax the super rich and we will not tax the super rich so all the arguments about more pay for teachers means more taxes for the average Kansan who does not make as much as the teachers do. The starting salaries for a teacher with a baccalaureate are reasonably competitive with commerce department data on average salaries for college graduates with a liberal arts degree.