How important do we think elementary school is?

The other day I was talking to a friend about education, and we got to thinking about the amounts of money spent on athletics and stadia and coaches and their support staffs, on school administration and buildings and administrators and their support staff  –  while schools were being closed, teachers laid off, class sizes increased.  All this in the land where somebody keeps talking about how America is/will be number one in math, language, science, yadda, yadda, yadda.

What if a kindergarten teacher and a first-grade teacher got starting salaries of $150K?  Would there still be a glut of lawyers, accountants, finance-type fund shufflers, academicians with the Ph.D.?

Or would some really bright people get into teaching the most important years of a child’s schooling?

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5 Responses to How important do we think elementary school is?

  1. flippets says:

    This would be a remarkable approach to professionalizing the profession of teachers. There are plenty who say it would not be wise, and plenty who say it would work. We’ve never tried it in public schools. I know I’d want my own children being taught by a teacher who is making enough to make them say “this is worth my time and energy. I’m going to teach like crazy!” But until we change the way we look at education, teaching, and learning in the USA, we won’t find the funds to even think about this.

  2. heather says:

    the world would be different if we paid educator’s (not managers) well.

  3. Chuck says:

    Let’s be real, teachers at any level are never going to be paid that kind of money because where is that kind of money going to come from. Athletic teams, many of them, earn their keep through donations from alumni and tickets to events. And, let’s face it, athletic events are exciting and the events end within a specified period of time. Watching someone score high grades on a test don’t draw crowds, and it’s test scores, for the most part, that people and press look at when they evaluate teaching effectiveness. Is that how teaching is supposed to be evaluated, scores, like athletic contests. And, it really takes a long, long time ,in many cases, to see the results of good and bad teaching if the results can ever be seen at all. One last thought, some of the brightest people I’ve know–they had outstanding grade points–were people who should never be let into a classroom to teach.

    • laohutiger says:

      Many thanks to Chuck for a thoughtful reply.
      I’m sure there are also many people with bad grade points “who should never be let into a classroom to teach” but in fact are — but would there be more better ones if salaries were high?
      Of course, in the real world no such salaries would ever be forthcoming. But neither will there be world peace …
      As for the sports mania, well, if ‘entertainment’ is to be the tail wagging the dog that is the American university, we should probably let the universities go into the movie-making business, pop music trade, drug manufacturing …
      I guess my point is that I for one think that we’ve gotten away from what in my view should be the primary point of something like a university.
      But that’s just one no doubt troglodyte opinion, of course, and I genuinely appreciate Chuck’s taking the time to deal with a serious if unsolvable issue.
      Anybody else anna pitch in?

      • Chuck says:

        I do agree that the universities, so many of them, have gotten away from the basic of teaching, research, and service. I’m not sure which one, but a former president of UC Berkley was said to have made the statement when asked what his function as president was: football for the alumni, parking for the faculty, and sex for the students. I wonder what happen in his tenure as president of a top rate university that made him make that kind of a statement

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