Teacher Pay Reform

Published July 9, 2008

A major victory will be won for students if Utah public school districts implement a teachers’ merit-based pay reform. Teacher unions are among the first to claim America needs better public schools, so why is there still opposition to this proposal?

Although Utah’s graduation rates are among the best in the nation, the same standards of excellence are not met for the state’s minorities, where a much larger percentage fail even to finish high school. Utah needs to attract bright young teachers with incentives that consider more than just seniority when deciding pay raises, so that schools with large populations of minorities can target the racial achievement gap. Rather than holding onto an outdated entitlement program that ignores teacher performance, teacher unions should embrace this change.

Teaching is a professional vocation and should be held to the same standards as any other job requiring college and graduate-level degrees. If successful, this reform can benefit both students and teachers, in the form of improved classroom performance as well as increased teacher wages.

William Gangware ([email protected]) is a legislative specialist intern for The Heartland Institute.