Does anyone know anyone in the teaching profession, at least in Texas, who believes he or she is lavishly paid? Yes, it’s a stupid question.
The reason I ask is because I saw a story in a major Texas newspaper the other day about the state Senate’s so-called “merit” pay proposal. The story said the plan would allow “local school districts to lavish additional salary increases upon the top-ranked teachers.”
Lavish? That’s about as likely as the city of Austin building a subway system.
According to one online dictionary I consulted, the word, “lavish,” when used as a verb, means to “bestow something in generous or extravagant quantities on.” Or, according to another dictionary, “to expend or give in great amounts or without limit.”
When used as an adjective, the word means sumptuous, luxurious, opulent, rich or expensive.
Only in a teacher’s wildest dreams….
The average teacher salary in Texas is $54,122, according to the Texas Education Agency, or $54,155, based on the National Education Association’s calculations.
Compared to other states and the District of Columbia, that pay isn’t even average. It’s $7,600 below average, which is hardly opulent.
Even the $5,000 across-the-board pay increase approved by the Senate would keep Texas teacher pay below average, and that figure may get smaller as the House and the Senate negotiate a final school finance bill.
Merit pay, which TSTA opposes, wouldn’t make any teachers rich either. Instead, if it were tied to test scores, as allowed in the Senate bill, it would keep lavishing millions of dollars on testing companies.
House Speaker Dennis Bonnen says he opposes tying merit pay to STAAR scores because the House doesn’t want to increase the emphasis on high-stakes testing. And the House wants to give all school employees – other professional and support staff, in addition to teachers — a raise.
So stay tuned for the final word on educator pay as the House and Senate continue their negotiations. We hope a pay raise will be broad and substantial, but we all know better than to expect anything lavish.