Monday, January 21, 2008

Doing the Math with Your Education Dollars

With the reign of vouchers gone behind us, legislators have scrambled to fill the power vacuum left behind by the defeated education voucher cabal. While Utahns have realized vouchers ain't cutting it, they also recognize something needs to be done.

One of the first bills to be coming up will most likely be one heard in tomorrow's senate education committee- the "Differentiated Teacher Salary" bill put forward by Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, would seek to aid the Utah teacher shortage by tacking an extra 5k to the salaries of Math and Science teachers in Utah public schools.

Studies indicating Utah's lack of qualified math and science teachers does seem to make this one a no-brainer. But at the same time, an interesting article put out by the journal of Utah State University points out it may not be enough just to improve teacher salaries bottom lines in Utah unless they can compete with teacher salaries in Utah's neighboring states.

The article while it was from Jan. of 2007 pointed out that Nevada was dropping fat bonuses for signing teachers, even putting down payments on houses for new hires. It also pointed out Wyoming raising it's salary for teachers across the board by 18 percent, and not for just one type of teacher.

The article also cited evidence from a 2007 University of Utah study that showed that besides a shortage of math teachers Utah is hurting for special ed teachers. Certainly special ed students are probably part of the most vulnerable student population out there, it would seem a shame if their needs were neglected for a lack of special education funding.

Unfortunately a major factor that privileges education dollars for hard science teachers vs special ed teachers is the economic viability of a student pop well versed in math and sciences. But then again this selective funding is what you get with full time businessman/part time legislators- public policy served up with a hot, heaping portion of "market forces" ideology. (Eric S. Peterson)

1 comment:

  1. Good idea but he needs to include other problem areas such as (as you mentioned) special ed AND schools that are hard to staff. It is no secret that struggling schools not only struggle in the area of student success but they also have a hard time keeping experienced teachers. A 5K bonus for teaching at a troubled school would help a lot.


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