Most people hold false assumptions about teachers’ pay in the United States. However, when compared to other professionals in the U.S., teachers’ salaries have not increased. Berliner and Glass state that in 1970, teachers’ and lawyers’ salaries were almost equal, but the latter’s current pay is $160,000 while the former’s is $45,000 (54). The truth is that, when compared to other industrialized countries, instructors in the United States teaching similar grade levels and with equal years of experience are paid less. Therefore, the assumption that tutors in the United States are well-paid is a fallacy.
The remuneration differentials for teachers discourage most American college students from joining the profession. In addition, even the upcoming educators cite nonmonetary motivators for joining the career, such as the desire to help children succeed and their love for learning. However, in other industrialized nations, educators enter the occupation because of the attractive pay and good working conditions. For example, in Canada, teachers with 10 years’ experience receive $99,500 inclusive of other benefits, while in Singapore, every few years, educators are given a bonus of $10,000 (Berliner and Glass 55). These figures imply that teachers in the United States are paid lower than the country’s international competitors.
Another justification for this myth surrounding teachers’ pay in the U.S. is that American schools’ schedule is flexible, with additional vacation time; hence it is appropriate to pay these teachers lowly. According to Berliner and Glass, teachers’ annual salaries in other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries are higher than those in the U.S. (56). Nevertheless, each year, the profession attracts many young teaching enthusiasts who want to change the lives of children, but it is challenging to retain these professors, especially after they gain experience and become better instructors.
Class Size Does not Matter
Some critics have argued that class size does not matter and that more learning will not result from reducing class sizes. Schools have faced significant financial constraints, forcing them to squeeze their budgets by minimizing expenses by all means. One approach to reducing the cost has been increasing class sizes to employ fewer educators and minimize spending on salaries (Berliner and Glass 89). For this reason, education legislators and critics claim that class size does not matter, and as long as teachers are well trained and qualified, they can handle a class of any size; a lie.
Small class sizes increase learner achievement since the teacher has sufficient time for each pupil. In separate studies conducted in England and Wisconsin, it was found that there was a 5% increase in off-task behavior whenever one more student was added to a class (Berliner and Glass 90). Critics’ argument is based on minimizing the cost without considering its effect on the quality of learning. Berliner and Glass note that smaller classes require extra space, more tutors, and more material, all of which require more tax money (90). Besides, with smaller classes, teachers have adequate time to sufficiently contribute to their students’ learning.
If a teacher has a big class, more time is needed in school. Student assessments, lesson plans, coaching sports teams, and attending parent conferences are some of the ways illustrating the bigger workload with increased class size. There is a significant qualitative pedagogical impact resulting from a quantitative decrease in the number of pupils. Reducing the number of students per class allows teachers to individualize learning, be more creative, and identify struggling learners to increase their chances of success (Berliner and Glass 92). Therefore, reducing class size results in more learning, although some critics argue otherwise from an economic perspective.
Funds are Equally Distributed among Schools
The idea of equal educational opportunity is widely embraced in the United States. However, the money available to school districts is not equally distributed. There exists a disparity between state districts and even among schools in the same region (Berliner and Glass 175). A widespread philosophical belief exists that the federal government should have little to do with education in specific districts. This claim results from the 8% the federal government contributes to school districts, while 44% comes from local sources, and the state contributes 48% (Berliner and Glass 176). There are differences in state-to-state funding because such factors as population density are always ignored, underscoring that school district funds are not equally distributed.
The highly rural states spend more than highly urban ones with a similar number of students. Such demographics as the region in which a school is located are another factor for the unequal distribution of funds for school districts (Berliner and Glass 176). Besides, variations exist in districts with the same states because of the difference in learners’ poverty levels. Schools with students living very close to the national poverty line require more funding than those from well-off districts, which affects the equitable distribution of funds (Berliner and Glass 177). For this reason, wealthy districts attract and retain more experienced teachers and can offer individualized learning opportunities since they have sufficient funding to reduce class sizes. Therefore, there is inequality in the distribution of funding to districts and individual schools from the state and federal government funding.
Berliner, David C., and Gene V. Glass. 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools: The Real Crisis in Education. Teachers College Press, 2014.