Tom Peters is the author of the book, “In Search of Excellence.” In it he writes, “Show me the person most responsible for delivering goods and services in any industry and I’ll show you the least respected person in that industry.”

He goes on to site teachers and nurses as least respected for the duties they perform.

I would have to agree with Tom. Most teachers and nurses are underpaid and not always given the respect of their superiors.

In fact, I’m not even sure they would have superiors based on the services they perform day in and day out.

What’s A Fair Teacher Wage?

What’s a fair wage for someone trying to control an overcrowed classroom in today’s overly permissive society?

Someone who often feels the need to go into their own pocket to provide needed materials for classes that the administration won’t or can’t approve.

Being pressured by parents, kids, administrators, government and unions is a lot of plates to keep spinning.

In the private sector there’s a benchmark as to how valuable an employee is. If they sell, how much? If they produce, how much?

There are numbers at the end of the day that demonstrate value in monetary terms that determine the worth of that person to the company.

Teachers have none of that. The sad reality is that other than student grades there’s no real monetary value that can be placed on teacher performance.

That teacher didn’t bring in X dollars to the school system. As a result, you have union reps, school administrators, and the school board sit down and determine what the group as a whole is worth.

Why Not Learn From Movies?

How many movies have you seen where teachers perform miracles with nothing? Why aren’t some of these teaching methods implemented across our educational system?

The unfortunate fact is teachers have no idea if they’re teaching a future president or a future mass murderer.

Perhaps looking at students 10-15 years after the fact would give some indication as to the true value of that teacher and that could be a basis for increased compensation.

But who would ever want to go to that much trouble?

Where Do Teacher Raises Come From?

Since we can’t point to a monetary value the teacher produces we have to operate within the budgetary constraints of the school system.

In most areas of the nation schools are supported by property taxes of the citizens who live within the district.

The Department of Education chips in a few bucks and the state might also pony up a buck or two.

So, the teacher is pretty well stuck. The only way to pay teachers more is to either raise taxes or somehow reduce school operating costs.

The former is much easier than the latter for some school systems. No administrators want to take a pay cut.

Raising property taxes doesn’t go down well with voters who already feel their hard-earned tax dollars are misused or wasted.

Once again, the teacher is stuck.

Some Final Thoughts

I wish there was a cut and dried, cookie cutter, one size fits all, answer here but there’s not. Each district has its own challenges and teachers pay is not always at the top of the current to-do list.

I think most people would agree that teachers are underpaid. In spite of the three months off in the summer argument.

While I commend the teachers for their passion and dedication their march will sadly fall of deaf ears.

You can’t pay what you don’t have and as mentioned early there’s no one size fits all system that can provide compensation equally in every situation.

I do hope these marches focus some light on this way overdue injustice and a solution can be found. What say you? Comments below.