Thursday, December 19, 2002

Teachers Fight for Lower Wages!

"Public school systems in Nebraska are prohibited from offering signing bonuses or other incentives to attract or retain qualified teachers because doing so violates collective bargaining agreements with teacher unions, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled Friday." This is a perfect example of how the teachers unions' stranglehold on the public schools stifles attempts to improve the quality of education. It is also yet another argument for a school choice program that does not exclude private schools.

What's especially ironic about this situation is that the teachers unions constantly complain that teachers don't get paid enough. Their solution for every failing public school is to increase budgets and pay teachers more. But when a school actually tries to pay a teacher more money, the unions oppose it unless the pay raise is across the board. Aside from putting a cap on salaries, the across-the-board policy also prevents schools from paying the wage premiums required to attract teachers - specifically, math and science teachers - who have lucrative opportunities outside the teaching profession. (The case at hand involved an industrial arts teacher, but the principle is the same.) Unless schools start offering more for teachers with a higher opportunity cost, they will continue to produce students with inadequate quantitative skills.

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