Response to Report Urging Halt to Extra Pay for Master’s Degrees

masters degree

My first response to Stephen Sawchuk’s article “Report Urges Halt to Extra Pay for Master’s Degrees” was shock and horror.

I could not believe that such a report would exist, and yet we all know that if there is a claim to be made, then there’s an expert or study to support it.

Dollar signs flashed before my eyes and I thought to myself, “wow, I could have save thousands and thousands of dollars instead of wasting it on this lil’ old Master’s Degree!”

The conclusion and essence of this report is that there is no direct correlation between a teacher’s level of education and job performance in terms of student achievement.

Wait a minute!  This is almost laugh-out-loud hilarious (sadly).  (Emphasis on ALMOST because there are politicians and policy-makers that will want to jump on this bandwagon and make this a reality.)  Not only is teaching the most underpaid profession, but get this–is anyone attempting to make a claim that going to law school has no correlation with success as a lawyer?; going to medical school, is there a correlation with success there?  Going to business school–not necessary?  Right?  We should all just get Bachelor’s Degrees and call it a day because there’s no need to further our education or seek professional development because it doesn’t mean it will help?

While I respect all forms of research and the researchers in this study, this seems much like a veiled attack on the teaching profession.  Teachers need to be educated!  I repeat, teachers need to be educated!  Again, teachers need to be EDUCATED!   And if the purpose of this change is to reallocate funds that would normally have gone to teacher salaries to other experimental “teacher pay incentives” then I bemoan the sour state of the economy for making budget concerns sacrifice value and quality in the teaching profession.

I’d like to see a study done of teachers who have NOT been in any sort of teacher education program and only have Bachelor’s degrees.  Just curious.  I have no assumptions here.  However, I truly believe that while there may be some naturally talented teachers out there, it is a REQUIREMENT that this talent be supplemented with skill and training.

I was recently speaking with a principal who had a dream many years ago to bring his school up from the trenches to be one of the top schools in the country.  Many people laughed back then but as of this date his school is now on the U.S. America’s Best High Schools 2009 list.  He said that the teaching profession is more significant than all others because it is what we do in the classroom that creates the lawyers, doctors, great thinkers, and innovators in this world.

And now, someone thinks teachers do not deserve extra pay for Master’s Degrees because even though we sought to bring as much knowledge and skill to the classroom to train our future global citizens, it doesn’t really increase student achievement.

(As an aside, there are so many faulty cogs in this machine we call the education system, and teachers are just one cog…)

Teachers are people too.  We want to make an impact on the world but we have lives.  Eh hem – bills, family, significant others, hobbies, and businesses.  We must be able to provide for ourselves and our families.  Everyone knows we didn’t become teachers for the money, but we do expect to have a decent income to take care of our responsibilities and enjoy life.  

The fact of the matter is that education is expensive because it is made to be so.  Of course there is waste in the system, but the waste is not on teacher salaries.  Salaries are the livelihood of people, and teachers deserve to live well because of their commitment to a tremendously difficult profession.  

Post-A-Comment-Starters:  Again, I point out that I have not seen or heard of a study aiming to shave thousands of dollars off of actual high paying salaries due to poor or deficient performance.  If you can find some such study or a related study, please leave a comment and post a link to this information along with your comment.

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