The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries

Dave Eggers and Nínive Clements Calegari hit the nail squarely on the head in their OpEd from Saturday’s New York Times:

When we don’t get the results we want in our military endeavors, we don’t blame the soldiers. … [I]f the results aren’t there, we blame the planners. We blame the generals, the secretary of defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff. No one contemplates blaming the men and women fighting every day in the trenches for little pay and scant recognition.

And yet in education we do just that. When we don’t like the way our students score on international standardized tests, we blame the teachers. When we don’t like the way particular schools perform, we blame the teachers and restrict their resources.

Compare this with our approach to our military: when results on the ground are not what we hoped, we think of ways to better support soldiers. We try to give them better tools, better weapons, better protection, better training. And when recruiting is down, we offer incentives.

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