Front and center of tomorrow's society – learn smarter, teach harder
Schools around the world are finding it harder to attract and retain good and effective teachers. Attracting the best and brightest are vital to help innovation based economies evolve. Of course, higher pay is a good idea; however, many budgets (allegedly) aren’t keen on this cost increase. What if the private and public sector could collaborate to create special incentives for teachers? If it takes a community to raise a child, maybe that same community should help support good educators at the same time. Here is my list of five incentives:
“Please, at this moment, before we have first and business class board, would military and school educators please board.” Sounds good to me. Getting perks like preferential boarding and seating on planes and other modes of mass transportation would be grand. This is a move that is the cheapest of all my suggestions; nevertheless, the state/national government would have to make sure that active educators have proper identification badges (badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!). The private and public transportation industry would just have to open their hearts (and seats) to educators.
Possible Unintended Consequence: Someone in the back of the line adopting a “I hate that these teachers get to go first! I pay the same as you do!” mentality. But, haters are gonna hate.
Death and taxes are the inevitable items of life – the latter doesn’t have to be… (ask my teachers living in the Middle East). Milton Friedman and other neoclassical economists would be in favor of getting rid of income taxes for educators to help make the profession more enticing. Moreover, more money in the hands of the educators may translate to them spending more money (especially locally). If teachers didn’t have to pay taxes on their salary, they may even be more inclined to spend even more for their classrooms. Tax-free teacher salaries – it’s worth a shot.
Possible Unintended Consequence: If this loss of income tax is not offset, then local or state budgets may suffer considerably.
Teacher health is school-wide (village) wealth. This sounds like a picket-line chant. This incentive would allow educators to have heavily subsidized or free membership to select gyms, massage parlors, yoga classes, and martial arts establishments. Teaching can be a stressful occupation (link); therefore, encouraging teachers to release stress through exercise and relaxation places could help tremendously. Calmer teachers = calmer classrooms? Additionally, hopefully a trickle-down effect could take place as well from a wellness and fitness standpoint. Students may have a good role model to look to when it comes to taking care of their bodies.
Possible Unintended Consequences: Some companies just paying the teachers an amount to sign up but not come to the class to get the tax break and still have room to include other non-teacher clientele – win/win for company/teacher. Lose/lose for government/taxpayers (it’s a hustle that could happen).
Smarter teachers should directly translate into better, sharper teachers. Allowing teachers to take certain college and university courses for free (or heavily subsidized) would be a great incentive. Some private industries pay for their employees’ continuing education. Why not encourage educators to building on their education? To prevent teachers from taking the free education and then leaving the profession, quid pro quo agreements such as agreeing to teach at hard-to-staff schools could be put in place.
Possible Unintended Consequences: Teachers would leave profession after debt repayment via service expires since they have better credentials.
Buying a home is a goal many people want to obtain but have difficulties in doing so. The amount needed for down payments may be too steep or potential mortgage-backed buyers lose out to cash-carrying clients. Helping teachers with allowing 0% down on a qualifying house, reducing or eliminating closing fees, and giving the seller a special incentive to choose an educator who will live in the property rather than an investor who will pay with cash may help teachers become homeowners.
Another way to tweak this proposal would be to offer even grander discounts to teachers who buy a home in the area of a Title I school (U.S. code for low-income school areas). Buying a house helps people stay rooted and in-tune to their community. Teachers who live in the neighborhood of their school could increase their drive for student success due to their communal self-interest (i.e. interest to protect their investment).
Possible Unintended Consequence: House-flipping teachers. Or droves of real estate agents suddenly interested in marrying teachers. 🙂
In conclusion, there should be something done to help keep teachers in their jobs. Boosting financial incentives and prestige just might do the trick. But the status quo is not doing the job. According to many studies, teachers are leaving the profession in droves. Incentives are not the ultimate solution, but they definitely can play a role in mitigating the problem by keeping a good amount of teachers satisfied.
Any ideas or suggestions? Drop a line!