It’s time to abandon the single salary scale for all teachers | COMMENT
Kudos to the Clark County School District for raising new teacher salaries to over $50,000. The previous amount of $43,000 was unlikely to attract the best and brightest to such demanding and important work.
But now that the district has taken this step to help attract great teachers, elected officials need to do more to help the district retain them. That, however, will require tackling the biggest obstacle preventing the district from paying exceptional teachers what they are worth: the teachers’ union.
Unions have for years opposed efforts to reward exceptional teachers with exceptional pay. Unions are instead demanding a one-size-fits-all approach in which compensation is based primarily on longevity. There is no doubt that this leads to situations where great teachers are underpaid.
Unions are playing a numbers game. Since their main objective is to maximize the number of their dues-paying members, unions correctly understand that it is better for companies to satisfy the largest number of members, even if it means driving out the comparatively smaller number of teachers. exceptional. It also explains why unions oppose efforts to measure student learning and thereby identify and reward outstanding teachers for their hard work. After all, it would be much harder to defend such a blatant anti-student policy if the district had this kind of data on teacher effectiveness.
However, rewarding effective teachers appropriately is not only good for them. Teacher merit pay is also associated with a positive and statistically significant increase in student test scores, according to a comprehensive meta-analysis of 26 studies conducted on the topic.
However, for these reforms to materialize, the people of Nevada will first need to elect state legislators willing to revoke the monopoly powers enjoyed by Nevada’s teachers’ unions. These laws force school districts to bargain under rules that strongly favor the union, while also forcing non-union members to be bound by the union agreement whether they like it or not. Such coercive powers and the ability to deprive workers of their basic rights to free speech would be unjust in all circumstances, but the fact that it applies to public sector unions makes it even worse.
Public sector unions are fundamentally different from private sector unions.
In the private sector, collective bargaining is limited by the extent to which workers and employers can work together to produce a net benefit to society. If the workers demand wages that exceed the value of the final product sold to the consumers, the consumers will not buy at the high asking price and the workers and the employer will lose their respective jobs. Conversely, if the private sector employer offers wages below the value provided by the workers, the workers will move elsewhere, leaving the employer with only an empty building and the utility bills that come with it. .
The public sector, however, is completely different. Here, taxpayers are forced to pay the costs that the government imposes on them. Thus, costs can increase and reach a level that results in a net harm to society, because taxpayers, unlike ordinary consumers, are captive and must pay the higher costs, whether they like it or not. This is why, historically, even the most pro-worker politicians, as well as union leaders themselves, have regularly declared that unionization has no place in the public sector.
As private union membership plummeted, union bosses were looking for a new source of revenue, and that’s exactly what they found when they expanded into government.
Although we have all suffered, it is in the area of public education that unionization has caused the most damage. Since Nevada mistakenly granted monopoly powers to teachers unions, education has only gotten worse while the cost to taxpayers has gone up.
Voters must elect state lawmakers who will commit to ensuring Nevadans’ education tax dollars are spent on measures that will actually improve education, regardless of what that means for financial health. unions. If this ever happens, it will be good news for students and teachers.
Robert Fellner is Vice President and Chief Policy Officer of Nevada Policy.