Just because the Wisconsin debate has been overshadowed by national budget arguments and international tragedies, I still find myself worrying about the situation in a way that is independent of political stance or affiliation. The attempt to chip away some of the so called "perks" of being a teacher could have a devastating long-term impact on education. Teachers aren't auto-workers because of the requisite education, for example, and I hate to see them put in the same "union" category. There has to be something in it for talented people to have ten years in the field, an advanced degree, yet still not have their salaries start with the number four.
If we do go down this path, there has to be an increase in up-front compensation for teachers. Who is going to invest $30,000 or more into the rising cost of a university education to go after a job that will leave them in debt and incapable of raising a family on its income? We'll get what we pay for: a lack of talent and major shortages of quality instruction.
For all of the talk about what life is like in the corporate world, we should try having other white collar positions require six years of college ending in such a salary. In teaching, there has always been little initial financial reward, yet some balance provided by security.
Take that away and…