Critical Issues in Assessing Teacher Compensation
Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2638
9 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2013
Date Written: January 10, 2012
A November 2011 Heritage Foundation report — “Assessing the Compensation of Public-School Teachers” — presented data on teacher salaries and benefits in order to inform debates about teacher compensation reform. The report concluded that public-school teacher compensation is far ahead of what comparable private-sector workers enjoy, and that recruiting more effective teachers will be more difficult than simply raising salaries. The debate over the report’s findings has generated substantive inquiries as well as some misconceptions. Here, the report’s authors respond to questions and concerns, in the process showing that certain critical accusations — such as undercounting teachers’ work hours or overestimating retirement benefits — are simply false. The broader implication of the authors’ research is that the current teacher compensation system is not working. The United States needs a more rational system that pays teachers according to their performance.
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