Who says teachers don't want higher pay?
At different times, pundits have said teachers care more about the support they get from their principal and their working conditions than how much they are paid. Maybe.
There's an interesting trend going on out west in Montana and Wyoming. Wyoming, which is rich in a growing coal mining revenues, has been pumping money into its schools, and in particular into its teacher salaries, according to a story in the Great Falls Tribune. Beginning teacher salaries have risen quickly. In a few years, teachers can earn about $50,000, far more than in neighboring Montana. Montana spends about $5,000 per student on schools while Wyoming now spends $14,000, according to the Tribune.
What that means is that teachers are leaving in droves for Wyoming. Really. Montana's school board estimates that 70 to 80 percent of its new teachers are leaving. "We realize money isn't everything, but it sure does help," one teacher interviewed said.
Locally, Baltimore County's teachers have been complaining about not getting a raise last year, even as pay for teachers increased in other school districts.
And there's an interesting experiment going on in Washington, D.C., where the teachers may be voting next month on whether to give up tenure protections for a major boost in pay. There teachers who perform well could earn up to $131,000 a year.
It will be interesting to see whether they vote for the money as teachers in Montana are doing with their feet.