- Teachers don’t get paid enough. Thus, the most highly-qualified students don’t go into teaching.
- Increase teacher pay. Then, more of the most highly-qualified students will go into teaching.
- Offer generous pay and benefits packages that increase with service. The best teachers will then stay in teaching.
“Say it again and again,” the aphorism states, “and the sheeple will eventually believe it’s true.
Some facts courtesy of the U.S. Board of Labor Statistics:
- During the 2010-2012 school year, 220k public school teaching jobs were eliminated.
- During the 2012-2013 school year, ~104.7k students graduated with bachelor’s degrees in education.
- For the past 4 decades, student enrollment in public schools increased by 8.5%. The number of employees in the public school system increased by 200%.
- On average, there are 7 applicants for a typical job in the public school system. But, an average of 28 applicants are seeking each teaching position.
The problem? In economics, it’s called “overproduction.” That is, more teachers are being produced than there are available teaching positions, thus lowering the applicant pool’s value because teachers aren’t a scarce commodity. In this saturated market, public school district boards and administrators can offer a lower rate of pay (i.e., salary and benefits packages) and be more selective.
This is called the “law of supply and demand.” In sum, in a market where labor is needed but scarce, the value of that labor is higher than in a market where labor is plentiful.
In contrast, a free market solution would also seek to lower the number of applicants. How? By changing the requirements to earn a teacher’s certificate. Knight offers several changes:
- Increase the number of required classroom observation hours during first 3 years of the certification program.
- Extend student-teaching requirements from 1 semester to 1 school year.
- Raise minimum passing score for elementary teacher state licensing tests from the 16th-%’ile to, at minimum, the 50th-%’ile.
- Abolish K-8 licenses. Instead, offer a K-6 elementary education license but require middle school teachers to demonstrate content proficiency, as is required for 9-12th grade teaching certification.
- Increase the number of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) required for teacher certification renewal.
Introducing free-market solutions like these to the requirements for entering and remaining in the teaching profession would have the effect of eliminating the 10% of teachers who leave after their first year of teaching. In response, the scarcity of more highly-qualified teachers in the market would increase. Then, public school districts and administrators would be required by the law of supply and demand to offer more competitive salary and benefit packages.
If only the wizards of smart were able to figure this out before they got Obamacare enacted into law.
Let the discussion begin…
To access the sources cited in the post, click on the following link: