Solving the teacher problem

Dave Eggers has the solution: pay them more!

McKinsey polled 900 top-tier American college students and found that 68 percent would consider teaching if salaries started at $65,000 and rose to a minimum of $150,000. Could we do this? If we’re committed to “winning the future,” we should. If any administration is capable of tackling this, it’s the current one. President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan understand the centrality of teachers and have said that improving our education system begins and ends with great teachers. But world-class education costs money.

For those who say, “How do we pay for this?” — well, how are we paying for three concurrent wars? How did we pay for the interstate highway system? Or the bailout of the savings and loans in 1989 and that of the investment banks in 2008? How did we pay for the equally ambitious project of sending Americans to the moon? We had the vision and we had the will and we found a way.

Well, I can trump Mr. Eggers’s brilliant plan. I’ll bet 100 percent would consider teaching if salaries started at $1 million and rose to a minimum of $1.5 million.As for how we’ll pay for it, the answer is obvious: we’ll find a way!  Translation: borrow the money and pay it back with all the new wealth generated by the taxes paid by a much better-educated generation of public school students.

Note that this brilliant plan, which ignores a few small things such as supply and demand, as well as the ramifications of debt, is the product of the founders of 826 tutoring centers. One can only presume that the tutoring centers are sponsored by Brawndo, because it’s got electrolytes that students need.

It’s fascinating that Eggers and company look at the global test results and fail to observe one more thing that Finland, Singapore, and Korea all have in common: very few Africans and Hispanics. That may not have much impact on teacher retention, but I’m guessing it has more than a little to do with the USA’s lower global ranking with regards to student performance.