October 5, 2013
K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Pay Raises for Teachers With Master’s Under Fire.
The nation spends an estimated $15 billion annually on salary bumps for teachers who earn master’s degrees, even though research shows the diplomas don’t necessarily lead to higher student achievement.
And as states and districts begin tying teachers’ pay and job security to student test scores, some are altering—or scrapping—the time-honored wage boost.
Lawmakers in North Carolina, led by Republican legislators, voted in July to get rid of the automatic pay increase for master’s degrees. Tennessee adopted a policy this summer that mandates districts adopt salary scales that put less emphasis on advanced degrees and more on factors such as teacher performance. And Newark, N.J., recently decided to pay teachers for master’s degrees only if they are linked to the district’s new math and reading standards.
The moves come a few years after Florida, Indiana and Louisiana adopted policies that require districts to put more weight on teacher performance and less on diplomas.
This has higher education bubble implications, too, as a surprisingly large amount of graduation education is built around this sort of ticket-punching. Will this newfound skepticism spread to other professions, such as the military officer corps? All is proceeding as I have foreseen.