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For Many Teachers, Reform Means Higher Risk, Lower Rewards


Indiana teachers are still allowed to bargain. The problem is that the legislature limited negotiations to wages and benefits. Working conditions (and everything included under that label )are off limits (That's called union busting). If course, there's hardly anything left to haggle over. The state has made permanent drastic cuts to local schools. Most teachers have been working with frozen wages with no relief in sight. The state has created a new system of compensation designed to "reward" effective teachers. Ironically, the system will actually make the average lifetime earnings of a career teacher even lower than it already is. You can't reward good teachers unless you have the money to do so.

inteach, Yes, you're of course correct. The same goes for Wisconsin and other states. Instead of eliminated, I should have said "largely eliminated." To me, limiting bargaining to wages is tantamount to eliminating it, but that doesn't change the facts. I am correcting the post in a couple of points, with apologies. Thanks, MD

As you likely realize, no one is actually arguing that these reforms are about higher risk and higher reward. What they argue is that greater recognition is what matters. They say that the kinds of folks they want to attract to teaching want recognitions for how much better they are than…average?…those around them? But they want to know that if they are better that they will get more rewards. That's actually their argument. You are right, the better version of their argument WOULD include greater rewards to go with greater risk. But that's not what they want to do. And that's is not their argument.

There is also the additional question of timing in a higher risk, higher reward model. For example, those willing to take more risks in say their 20's may not be as willing to do so in their 30's. I'm assuming here that those first entering the teaching profession through traditional pathways do not have things like mortgages and babies. On the other hand, when one acquires those things, I should think that one becomes more risk averse. Consequently, the model mentioned above may lead to more long term instability in the teaching profession as those who become more risk averse than they were when they began move out of the teaching profession.

<i>I don’t know if the “higher risk, higher reward” model is a good idea for teachers...</i> This is an excellent point, and is a debatable point. Of course, an entirely separate question is "What's best for students."


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