Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Getting funds to where they need to be

There is a problem in Education and it's not necessarily a lack of funds, it is a problem with funds getting to where they need to be. This is something I've been meaning to write for some time. The Education Wonk brought this to the forefront of my mind with the following post:
Notes From The Education Underground: The TeachWonk Diaries Just Another Brick... I teach students in a California elementary school district that is located in the south-western part of the state. This district consists of 8 elementary schools and two middle schools. For the past three years, we have had no increase in pay whatsoever, but meanwhile inflation continues to march on. (And because of ##! union seniority rules, changing districts is not an
There are many advocates of 'local control' in education, I'm not one of them and this article is an illustration one of the reasons why. I think 'local control' is an antiquated concept from a less mobile age. In the modern world, children need to be prepared to compete on a World stage, not just in their back yard. In order for education to progress from the mess that it is today, certain aspects should be covered under State and Federal agencies. First, Teachers should be employed by the State, not individual school districts. One of the problems in education is getting the money meant for teachers to the teachers without it being misspent by district officials (see Colorado City district airplane as a prime example). The main reason for this is that under the current system, there is no mechanism to provide incentive to get the best-qualified teachers to where they are needed. If all of the teachers in the state were employed by the State, incentives such as salary and housing benefits could be offered to bring teachers to rural and inner city schools. Additionally, teachers would be able to move from one district to another without fear of loosing credit for years taught, and bad people could more easily be prevented from teaching within the state. Second, additional benefits could be gained from a single employment pool. Health care benefit costs could be reduced by negotiating with providers using a larger pool of employees. The transition to subject centered pay schedules would be much easier if it were standardized across the state (I've always thought Math, Science, Special Ed, and ESL teachers should be paid more because of their specialized expertise). Third, the State would become much more competitive in attracting qualified teachers. Imagine the choice, you can teach in the State of X and compete with thousands of teachers for the best paying positions, or settle for a lower paying job where you want to live. If you're married, you can live with the fact that if you have to move, you may loose credit for your experience when you get a job in another district. You can work for the State of Y, and know that all districts are on a standardized pay schedule and that you only need to compete for jobs where you want to live. You could receive incentives for teaching in a district that has a harder time attracting teachers such as higher pay and help buying a home. To top it all off, your health plan will be better and less expensive then in the State of X and if you're married and have to move (within the state), you won't have to take a big pay cut because the new district won't recognize your years of experience. Mobility within the state, better pay, better benefits at lower cost, and incentives to teach in what are now the worst paying districts in the state. Sounds like a win for everyone, teachers are treated like a desirable commodity, School Districts get better-qualified teachers, and State money goes to where it is meant to go. I'd like to hear your thoughts on this. Related Posts: Education Spending in Arizona - There is a discrepancy in views

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