Duncan: Teacher Salaries Should Be $60,000 to $150,000

Duncan: Teacher Salaries Should Be $60,000 to $150,000

In a speech to Nationally Board Certified teachers, Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, spoke about America’s need to attract and retain highly talented and capable individuals into the teaching profession. Secretary Duncan specifically pointed to how other countries incentivize the highest performing college graduates to become teachers, by requiring high professional and educational standards and providing significant compensation to teachers.

Mr. Duncan pointed out that, “…entry-level salary in the high 30’s and an average ceiling in the high 60’s will never attract and retain the top talent. We must think radically differently. We should also be asking how the teaching profession might change if salaries started at $60,000 and rose to $150,000.”

The Secretary discussed the need to increase the rigor of schools of education in order to attract top college students into the field of teaching. According to Mr. Duncan, “We also need to raise the bar for entry in the field. Top undergraduates will flock to a profession that demands high standards and credentials. Yet, too many of our nation’s 1,400 schools of education lack the rigor to attract talented students.”

Throughout his speech Mr. Duncan discussed the importance of evaluating teachers using multiple measurements, “…like principal observation, peer review, parent and student feedback, student work, teacher attendance and other factors.” He went on to state that, “Neither the President nor (he) believe test scores should be the sole component of evaluation. We always have and always will support multiple measures.”

In closing, Mr. Duncan discussed the need for reform minded teachers to communicate these and other goals with their colleagues. He stated, “I urge you to lead this effort. Your colleagues in the classroom trust you. They will take your lead and they will follow you. Appeal to their highest ideals. Bring their voice into the conversation, and help them see that by taking full responsibility for their profession, they can remake it in their own eyes — and in the eyes of our nation.”

The speech was both hopeful and inspirational, while highlighting some of the major challenges facing the teaching profession.

In light of the speech, I have two questions for the group:

  1. Do you agree with the Secretary, that increasing standards and barriers to entry while paying up to $150,000 will truly professionalize teaching and help address the need for more quality teachers?
  2. What else is needed to accomplish this goal?

I have attached a PDF of the prepared speech in case you wish to read Mr. Duncan’s full remarks.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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