To encourage more scientists and mathematicians into the field of education, State Superintendent Mike Flanagan Monday (January 28th) called for teachers in Michigan to make $100,000-plus salaries.
Addressing a group of science experts that assembled at Michigan State University to discuss the upcoming Next Generation Science Standards for K-12 education, Flanagan said: “We can do all we want with content standards, but the elephant in the room is that it won’t do much good if we don’t have enough math and science teachers in our schools.”
He noted that there even are instances, especially in urban and rural communities, where students have to try to learn math and science from people who aren’t true math and science teachers.
The challenge, Flanagan expressed, is that many high school and college students who are good in science and math don’t see the teaching profession as being a viable career option for themselves.
“When you ratchet-up teacher salaries to $100,000-plus, market forces will direct more mid-career changers and you’ll attract more math and science college students into our educator prep programs,” he said.
“We need to be moving all teachers to that salary level to continue getting the best and brightest people educating our students,” Flanagan said. “It’s all about talent.”
With state laws requiring greater teacher accountability and evaluations, Flanagan expects only the highest quality educators will remain in Michigan classrooms, and “we need to get past the lip service and value them to the greatest extent possible.”
Source: News release from Michigan Department of Education