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State Supt. Flanagan: Michigan Teachers Should Make $100K

The head of the Michigan Department of Education asserts that higher wages would encourage more people to become teachers.

The key to getting more qualified math and science teachers into Michigan schools is simple, according to state Superintendent Mike Flanagan: pay them more.

Flanagan, who heads up the Michigan Department of Education, said Monday at an assembly of scientists at Michigan State University that Michigan schools need more math and science teachers. The problem, he said, is that most scientists and mathematicians don't consider teaching in public schools to be a viable career option.

“We can do all we want with content standards, but the elephant in the room is that it won’t do much good if we don’t have enough math and science teachers in our schools,” Flanagan said while discussing science standards in K-12 shools, according to a release from the state.

“When you ratchet-up teacher salaries to $100,000-plus, market forces will direct more mid-career changers and you’ll attract more math and science college students into our educator prep programs,” he added. “We need to be moving all teachers to that salary level to continue getting the best and brightest people educating our students.

“It’s all about talent.”

Average teacher salaries, according to statistics released annually by the MDE, vary by tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the school district. No district's average salary in 2010-11 hit $100,000.

For example, the average salary for a teacher within Dearborn Public Schools in 2010-11 was $75,190.

Do you think Michigan teachers should have higher salaries? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Correction: The average teachers salary at Birmingham Public Schools in 2010-11 was $75,323.07, district officials said Jan. 31. The original version of this story incorrectly stated that Birmingham had the highest average teacher salary in the state, at $94,703. This number was provided by the Michigan Department of Education, however district officials said this week that salary data had been mis-reported to the state in 2011.

R. EALLY January 29, 2013 at 04:47 PM
What a crock, teachers are overpaid to begin with. Pay the policemen and firefighters $100K, they deserve it. If teachers were paid on performance, the overall salary bill would go down, as many don't earn what they are paid..
Maria January 29, 2013 at 04:58 PM
I believe teachers should get paid more. They do a lot for their students all there time and energy goes into educating their children. I don't believe it's an easy job, I know from my children's teachers they are working after 330 creating lesson plans. Teachers are overworked and underpaid.
TMNI January 29, 2013 at 06:55 PM
The firefighters in our town ARE paid 100K and we RARELY have a fire! My husband is a teacher but not Math or Science. I think they need to pay more for good teachers in these fields. These are fields that are crucial to the overall long term good of the country. I don't think all teachers need a pay raise unless warrrented. It's a case of supply and demand. "In the United States, only 7 percent of students reached the advanced level in eighth-grade math, while 48 percent of eighth graders in Singapore and 47 percent of eighth graders in South Korea reached the advanced level. As those with superior math and science skills increasingly thrive in a global economy, the lag among American students could be a cause for concern. " So you're right, let's do nothing!!
laplateau January 29, 2013 at 07:29 PM
It seems there is always a call for better teacher pay. And while I believe they should be paid well, here in Dearborn that has never been an issue. Over the past decades, more and more money has been dedicated to education, but the grades and test scores have not done much better. If anything, I believe we might need MORE teachers, not necessarily better paid teachers...at least here in Dearborn. I also believe we need fewer administrators and fewer "wonderful ideas" in changing curriculum….all an attempt to justify the positions. We have gone from the old math to the new math, back to the old math and again to the new math. For years they tried a new curriculum in science, and after years they decided it was not doing well at all. So, they dumped it, but now they are talking about reinstituting it again. This after they dumped all the books and study materials. In many ways it appears we have too much money for our administrators to frivol away. Education has become an industry and no longer a dedicated vocation. Administrators, curriculum developers, book suppliers, all have their hands in the cookie jar of education money. Money is not the issue here. If anything it is the parents at home that do not stress and insist on the importance of education as a life priority, and the appropriate and thrifty spending of the financial resources.
Yasmine Ferris January 29, 2013 at 11:27 PM
@ laplateau...have you thought that test scores and performance may not change because the STATE keeps making changes to the criteria so the comparisons aren't always the same?! Or that the tests, curriculum, standards, and whatever else the STATE decides to throw at schools every year keep changing and don't give teachers a chance to actually implement for success?!? While I agree that teachers should be paid more, I don't think it should just be for math and science subjects. What about those of us teachers who teach just as vital and necessary subjects like personal finance and accounting...skills that students need to learn and be competitive!?!? Why are there not more business people as teachers?!? Because the pay for the amount of work we do in and out of class, jumping through the state's hoops, is nowhere near comparable to the business world and not attractive enough for business people to make the career change!!! Not everyone is going to be a mathematician or a scientist!! I think Flanagan singling these two subject areas out causes even more of a divide and pushes existing teachers of other subjects out of the profession!!
Navymom January 30, 2013 at 01:37 AM
Perhaps if teachers were not faced with trying to teach children who have failed to learn at home the concepts of respect and responsibility they would have more time for teaching and need to spend less time teaching what parents should be teaching at home. Perhaps if we stop changing the standards every year and then compare one set of test scores to the others we would have a more accurate picture of what our children are learning. Perhaps if parents supported the school staff and showed interest in what their child was and WAS NOT doing in school test scores would be higher. When parents choose to not be involved even the best teachers are set up for failure. When districts put the emphasis on more and more administrators and programs and less and less on actual education, children suffer. When people realize that EVERY SINGLE PROFESSIONAL required teachers to teach them how to do that job, we will begin to see that without dedicated teachers, we fail as a society. Continue to make teachers at fault for everything that is wrong in the world, and we will find at the end of the day we have lost all hope of a better future. Remember, those who can do. Those who can do more, teach.
laplateau January 30, 2013 at 02:03 AM
Yasmine...I stand by what I said above, but I don't want anyone to think I am berating or demeaning the dedication that so many of our teachers exhibit every day in and out of the classroom. You are a very valuable asset. I understand what you mean about the state demanding more and making constant changes. Again, I feel this is a part of the administration / education industrial complex to which I referred and I think teachers are the puppets being overly controlled by it. Teachers have become victims of this conundrum. I don't think more money being thrown at education is the answer until we clean up the administrative problem.
Om Nader Sarah January 30, 2013 at 05:35 AM
GOOD teachers with years experience and are above good standing deserve more than that even ! They are molding our children's minds !
laplateau January 30, 2013 at 12:41 PM
Sarah....I hope that teachers are not those that are the principle in molding our children's lives! I would much prefer that it was the parents at home, teaching values like family, faith, hard work, love, respect, that are the dominant factor. Yes, teachers can also supplement that effort, but I would never say that a teacher should ever be the main role models. That especially applies to our liberal minded professors and instructors at the college level. If kids get that which I mention above from their parents throughout their childhood and into young adulthood, they should be able to weather the storms of contradictory and false teaching that they will no doubt confront. Teachers can play a valuable role, but the parent is the main ingredient here.
Lee Jacobsen January 30, 2013 at 08:26 PM
I agree with Lap, the parents are the motivators for learning, and teachers add the frosting to the cake. Regarding pay, correct my math if I am wrong, but compared to the rest of us working folk who work 12 months a year, 9 months for 75 thousand equates to 100 grand for 12 months. Flanagan has met his goal, unless he wants to open the schools to 12 months a year like the rest of the world and let the machines plant and harvest the crops in the summer months. The farmers really don't need that much help , do they??
laplateau January 30, 2013 at 08:46 PM
Lee..very good point...one that I was going t make and forgot about it. Thanks for being alert!
Jeannette Pryciak Capote January 31, 2013 at 01:53 AM
First of all let me state I am NOT a teacher. But I want you all to realize that our teacher's work MORE than a full time job and do NOT get over time pay. I know teacher's who spend hours every day after school is out not only grading papers, setting up for the next day, writing lesson plans, making copies etc... but also many stay after to help students and volunteer in the school with events. That doesn't even count the number of weekends they spend doing grades and correcting assignments. Do you seriously think they do NOTHING over the summer? I beg to differ. They have professional development things that they have to go to and there are always classes that they have to take to stay current. Not to mention that every time the STATE or Local Board of Ed decides to switch curriculums or something there is extra meetings and training involved. Oh and all those LATE START days for the kids are actually EARLY starts for the teachers! Teachers pays have been cut over the past few years. They like everyone else have had to make concessions like paying more toward their insurance and such. So they are FAR from paid enough! Especially here in Dearborn! Want to keep good teachers and attract good teachers? Raise the amount they are paid. Don't cut it! So sorry Lee.The teachers DO do 12 months of work only THEY fit it into 10 month! ( THEY start in August and end in June so that's 10 months not 9) And they are discouraged from using the vacation and sick time that they EARNED!
laplateau January 31, 2013 at 02:28 AM
Teaching is a commendable profession, no doubt, no argument. However, they did not go into that profession without knowing all you say about it. This isn't something that was simply sprung on them. Yes, there has been some concessions recently, but only very recently. All public school employees recently had to do the very same thing, from bus drivers to administrators. Actually, secretaries and otter support employees have had to make many more concessions in the past than any others in the school system. And, I have no idea where you get the idea that teachers work 12 months a year. Surely not the ones I know in the Dearborn system...and I know a lot of them. Throwing more money in the way of teachers to get better educations results is a fallacy that has been foisted upon us for decades. Certainly they should be paid well, but Lee said it well...I refer to his latest statements rather than repeat them here. I respect your opinion Donna, but there is no way I can agree with it completely.
Jeannette Pryciak Capote January 31, 2013 at 03:32 AM
Oh and I have a ton of teacher friends who I see working very very hard 90% of the year and if you look again I said they do 12 months of work IN 10 months!!!! I did NOT say they worked 12 months a year. And the teachers have made concessions in MORE than just the last year. I know because many of them are personal friends of mine. Oh and who's Donna??? You reply'd under me... but I sure as heck am not Donna
Lee Jacobsen January 31, 2013 at 05:48 AM
Jeanette, For the first time ever, teachers are paying a portion of their healthcare like everyone else. It's about time. 10 months a year? Don't think so. Lets's look at the 2013 district calendar. Teachers start Aug 29th, as state law states students begin classes after labor day. Do teachers get Thanksgiving off (Nov 22 &23) , ie christmas week off? (Winter break Dec 24 - Jan 7) Mid-Winter break (Feb 18-25) Easter week? ( Spring Recess Mar 28 - April 8?) Other religious holidays? Cold weather days? Last day of school June 13th. Most everyone else seems to work on many of those 'off days'. Add them up and it easily totals another 4 weeks off. So actually, it is only 8-1/2 months a year of work. http://dearbornschools.org/district/about-us/district-calendar Raise the pay of the good teachers and discharge the bad teachers. That will improve the overall results. Good luck doing that with the teacher's union.
laplateau January 31, 2013 at 03:17 PM
Lee...again, great points for our liberal friends to ponder.
Jeannette Pryciak Capote February 01, 2013 at 12:12 AM
You seem to forget all the evenings and weekends they work which more than make up for the holidays that they have off. Many of my teacher friends spent the last 3 day weekend entering report card grades... not going on a weekend trip with their families like anyone else who may have had a long weekend. You just don't want to give credit where credit is due.
Lee Jacobsen February 01, 2013 at 11:55 PM
Jeannette, In today's equalized wealth society, it is great that teachers , the good ones, go the extra mile and put in extra hours to do a better job. Not all teachers go the extra mile. Many teachers have assistants that we don't even hear about. I work 75 hours a week, make more that a teacher does, but take a lot more risk as well. A tenured teacher has no risk. Read more here. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1859505,00.html It is irksome to work extremely hard, and then be expected to support the folk that don't choose, or by circumstance, can't work as hard. Is that my fault that their choice results in my paying their way via higher taxes? My point? If you want more, then work harder. Many do, and are taxed more as a result. Is this fair? Everyone should pay the same percentage of tax on income, that is fair. If you want to coast, get a 'liver' diability like many folk do in Detroit and don't work at all. Vote for the Dems to keep the same benefits coming. After 65 years of Detroit run by the Dems, look at the results. Deplorable. Why no change? Would you change a system if you didn't have to work, made almost as much as a teacher, paid no taxes, and it was all given to you by the govt? Time to clean house, reward the good teachers, fire the bad ones, and force non-working folk to do something to earn the free govt handouts. Harsh? Teachers can't pay all the taxes. Where is a USA budget?
laplateau February 02, 2013 at 04:20 AM
Lee, again, you make excellent points to consider. Thanks
City of Dearborn (Editor) February 02, 2013 at 04:27 AM
Hi everyone - just so you know, it has been discovered that the statistics on the average salary of Birmingham teachers were reported incorrectly by the district to the state, resulting in incorrect numbers coming from the Michigan Department of Education. A correction with the accurate average salary has been noted in the article.

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