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State Superintendent: Michigan Teachers Should Make $100K

The head of the Michigan Department of Education says higher salaries for teachers is what the state needs to attract better qualified math and science teachers.

If you want better qualified math and science teachers, you have to pay them more.

That's was the recent message from state Superintendent Mike Flanagan, who heads up the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). Flanagan spoke to an assembly of scientists at Michigan State last week, noting that the state needs more math and science teachers.

However, according to Flanagan, 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, according to a press release from the state.

So how much do Flanagan think teachers should make? $100,000 a year, he said.

"When you ratchet up teacher salaries to $100,000-plus, market forces will director more mid-career changers and you'll attract more math and science college students into our educator prep programs," he said.

In Huron Valley, the average teachers salary in 2010-11, according to district data, was $59,021. 

That's lower than the average salary in Walled Lake, at $78,434 and in some of the other area districts. According to statistics from the MDE website, the average salary in West Bloomfield was $64,824 and Hartland's average was $58,994.

Average teacher salaries varied by tens of thousands of dollars across the state. Howver, no district's average salary hit $100,000 in 2010-11.

"We need to be moving all teachers to that salary level ($100,000) to continue getting the best and brightest people educating our students," Flanagan said. "It's all about talent."

Will increasing the salaries of Michigan teachers attract more math and science teachers?

Laura Vogel February 07, 2013 at 04:00 PM
I don't disagree with the value question of $100k for a 9-10 months/yr job. However, you are missing the point that someone with a hard sciences degree can earn well over $100k in the marketplace as an engineer or systems programmer (for example). So you are asking for people with hard sciences backgrounds to forego a starting salary job of $80k to choose a job that pays $25k (starting salary of teachers is very low).
Kirk Goodell February 07, 2013 at 04:24 PM
What makes anyone think $100k lures better people? The fact of the matter is that you do what you like or what you think you will like. All pay in the public and private sector should be incentive based. In my experience freinds went into teaching because they loved kids, liked to teach or wanted the summer off. No one said "I'm going to make a million in teaching". The arbitrary and incredibly rediculous notion that public servents are "better" when you pay them more is no different than expecting better automobiles by paying assembly line workers more. Qualitative assesments, incentives and GETTING RID of non-producing employees is the proven path to higher performance. There are many tenured educators that deserve to make twice what others do. Not all temured educators are created equal and they should not be paid the same nor should thier income be increased to 100k.
Greg Burks February 07, 2013 at 06:21 PM
I agree with getting rid of the non-productives, make pay relative to the performance/grades of the students. In doing so make the teachers more empowered in the ability to "teach & discipline" their students without the fear of being sued or reprimanded. Also, there are many "tenured" educators that don’t deserve what they're currently getting paid let alone the job they have but that's another (union) issue....... BTW - tstinson1 - just by making that comment shows that a) you must not know any "good" teachers and b) just how little you know about what it takes to be a good teacher.
Laura Vogel February 07, 2013 at 07:18 PM
Given the cost of a college education these days (occupy any wall streets lately?), the long-term salary prospects versus the cost of degree acquisition has to be factored in. You can "love" teaching all you want, but it's hard to save the world if you can't afford to pay a mortgage because your student loan debt vastly outstrips the earning potential. Teachers are unique in their requirement for more than four years of education if you are going to have a hard sciences background, and teachers are also unique in their requirements for obtaining masters' degrees as a condition of continued employment. All of those additional certifications and degrees earn $$ for the colleges/universities that offer the courses, but there is very little proof to show that this additional investment yields added earning power for the teacher him/herself. Simply put, it doesn't make economic sense. I didn't realize teachers were supposed to take a vow of poverty like a priest or a nun does.
Patch Member February 10, 2013 at 03:33 PM
$100k for a nine month a year job is absolutely absurd even with the degree requirements. Teachers can pick up side projects during those three months off like many other working Americans who do side projects in addition to working 52 weeks a year. As far as qualified teachers go, you don't need a genius to teach subject matter that is covered in the first two years at any college. What we need is smaller classroom sizes and more teachers, not the best-of-the-best.

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