College Board Calls for ‘Drastic Improvements‘ In Teacher Salaries and Working Conditions

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The College Board, calling for “drastic improvements” in teacher quality and the conditions of teaching, released a set of recommendations today that includes an immediate increase of 15 percent to 20 percent in teacher salaries as well as a 50 percent pay hike within the “foreseeable future.”

The report, which was prepared by the New York City-based organization’s Center for Innovative Thought, a group of academic and business leaders, makes six recommendations, including the creation of a public-private trust to help pay for the reforms.

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“This is about globalization, about innovation, and about the future of our children,” said Gaston Caperton, the president of the College Board, which sponsors the SAT college-admissions tests and Advanced Placement courses. “We have to get better and better in the education we offer; we have to provide educational opportunities for all students. And that demands better and better teaching, and attracting the best people into the teaching profes-sion.”

He said the goal of a 50 percent salary increase was “very realistic” and achievable through a partnership among federal, state and, local branches of governments. “It is how we finance the interstate-highway systems, how we finance health care,” he said, adding that education deserves to be a top priority for the nation.

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Citing the scale of the “crisis” facing the teaching profession, the report says school districts nationally will have to hire 2 million new teachers in the next decade to account for student enrollment increases, teacher retirement, turnover, and career changes. Meanwhile, nearly half the new teachers who enter schools will leave the profession within five years, it says.

Among other recommendations, the report calls for recruiting more minority teachers; improving working conditions in schools; establishing merit-based scholarships in math, science, and engineering to attract new teachers; and encouraging multiple pathways into teaching.

To pay for those reforms, it calls for setting up a national fund with contributions from the federal government, matched by state and local revenues. The fund would also receive contributions from the corporate sector. The trust would hold funds for a general salary increase and to support teachers in shortage areas.

“This is an investment, not an expense,” the report says. “It is a fantasy to believe we can attain educational excel-lence while teachers are among the poorest paid college graduates in the country.”

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