Welcome to Nathan A. Saunders' view of relevant issues concerning education, law, ethics, economics, public policy, labor, social justice and the Washington DC community. Hopefully, a nexus of change and thought leadership through art, music, humor, and technology will be achieved while filtering relevant news with insight and research. Please submit request for certain topics to be addressed and I will be certain to discuss them and provide supporting documentation which you can peruse and download. I want to hear what you think as well. A primary purpose is get information in the hands of people who care about teachers, children and the DCPS so they can have more deeper and thoughtful discourse on public education issues.
Some interesting data on the value of teachers as well as parents to educating children.
Teachers at the highest-paying grade school district in the Chicago area make twice as much as their colleagues at the local elementary school paying the lowest wages, according to the 2009 Illinois School Report Card.
Oak Brook's Butler School District 53 paid an average $80,136 per teacher, compared with the $38,040 earned at Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake.
Yet both suburban school systems boast strong student test scores, advanced courses and involved parents.
Does that mean teacher pay doesn't matter? The answer, like so many issues involving education, is not a simple one. A complex set of circumstances contribute to the salary gaps from one district to the next. Chief among them is the state's reliance on property taxes -- determined by a district's relative wealth -- to shoulder the bulk of education costs.
Researchers said Illinois' salary gap is one of the largest reported nationwide.
"Illinois is an unusual situation," said Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy. "You have great disparities in education spending, and therefore you have great disparities in teacher salaries."
But other factors also determine paychecks: a teacher's education level and years of classroom experience, the cost of living and the type of school district where a teacher works. High school districts traditionally pay more than elementary districts, and traditional public schools tend to pay more than charter schools.