There have been several news reports on how well the Northwest Middle School improved its test scores, and each emphasized that performance pay was key to the improvement. I hope our state legislators pay attention to how that was handled. More importantly, the performance pay was not squeezed out of existing state funds, which would have lowered the wages of some teachers or raised class sizes or cut some elective programs. Instead it was funded from a $2.3 million federal grant, and the process will be able to continue only with the help of more grants and federal money.
Contrary to the belief of many of our legislators, additional money does positively affect quality education. Class size is important because it is a major factor in attracting and keeping good teachers. But teacher pay is most important, especially in today’s world, as that most affects the pool of qualified applicants.
If our legislators really want our education system to improve they must be willing to come up with enough money to attract and keep highly qualified teachers. And that additional funding shouldn’t come from raising taxes on those who can least afford it, as is being considered with the bill that would eliminate the personal exemptions for dependents.