From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 5, Number 21 - 1/18/01
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Editorial: Increase Teacher Salaries, but Attach Strings

Professional educators in Wyoming are pushing hard for increased teacher salaries. Specifically, they want the State Legislature to fund schools another $73 million specifically for this purpose.

I'm in favor of increasing teacher salaries, but I want some strings attached.

First, Wyoming needs to develop a statewide teacher salary schedule. One of the fears that came out of the new funding formula was that smaller school districts would lose highly qualified teachers to larger districts who could pay them higher salaries. A statewide teacher salary schedule would address this fear.

Second, school boards need to be able to reward their best teachers with significant cash bonuses and benefits above and beyond the teacher salary schedule. Wouldn't it be great if the best teachers at each school in Pinedale received a $10,000 bonus at the end of the year? What better recognition and sign of appreciation is there than that?

Third, we need to eliminate tenure. I know this is a testy subject and one close to the heart of the WEA. But most parents and voters I talk to think tenure needs to go. Teachers should keep or lose their jobs based on their performance, not their longevity.

Third, teacher certification needs to become less restrictive. Right now, an experienced college professor without a teacher's certificate couldn't be hired to teach at Pinedale High School. This needs to change.

In Pinedale we have many retired professionals who might consider second careers as teachers, but don't want to spend a year in Laramie getting their teacher certificate. These people have master's degrees, doctorates and/or years of practical experience in their fields. They have the content knowledge to teach, but need the teaching skills.

There needs to be some type of program that delivers those teaching skills to them. Perhaps this could be a "learning on the job" certificate program coupled closely with, student teaching, strong mentoring, correspondence courses, online learning, and concentrated workshops. Currently, a school which hires a non-certified teacher as one of its academic instructors risks accreditation. This should change.

Making the teaching certificate requirement more flexible and less restrictive will directly address the teacher shortage problem by immediatley increasing the pool of possible teachers that school boards can consider for open positions.

The Wyoming Education Association and other professional educators have resisted many of these ideas. I believe trading increased teacher salaries for these ideas and changes is a win/win for teachers, school boards and students.

See The Archives for past articles.

Copyright © 1999, 2000 The Sublette County Journal
All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means must have permission of the Publisher.
The Sublette County Journal, PO Box 3010, Pinedale, WY 82941   Phone 307-367-3713
Publisher/Editor: Rob Shaul