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Homeroom Economics

How much is a teacher worth?

The average starting salary for a new teacher in Oregon is around $31,000. That figure increases over time based on academic qualifications and number of years teaching. But pay increases slowly, forcing many teachers to leave the profession after less than five years of teaching.

The privately funded Chalkboard Project has launched a pilot program to boost teacher pay in Oregon schools. Under the program, teachers can accelerate their progress on the existing pay scale if they take on additional duties. This includes mentoring new teachers and collaborating on lesson plans.

Oregon initiative advocate Bill Sizemore wants to increase pay as well ? but with a different emphasis. He?s proposing a measure for the November ballot that would peg teacher pay directly to classroom performance and student test scores - a move local teacher unions fiercely oppose.

While candidates in local, state and presidential contests debate ways to improve education, some school districts are coming up with their own answers. One charter school slated to open in New York City in 2009 will pay teachers a starting salary of $125,000. According to Zeke Vanderhoek, the school’s founder, teacher quality is the key to giving kids a good education and paying good teachers a high salary is one way to make sure they stick around.

Are Oregon teachers being paid enough? How much is enough? And is increasing teacher pay an effective way to recruit and retain qualified teachers? More to the point, is increasing teacher pay the means to a better education? Are you a parent, teacher, or student - what role do you think teachers’ salaries play in educating Oregon’s next generation?


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