Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Science Teachers

Today the State of Minnesota released the test results of a "new, interactive, online science exam, the first of its kind in the nation.........." according to our Pioneer Press newspaper. This exam was given to 5th graders, 8th graders, and high school students.

Overall only 40% of students tested -- 185,000 students total -- in Minnesota met the state science standards for proficiency. No doubt when the 2009 legislature convenes there will be a collective call for "fully funding our schools.............investing in our children............so we can compete with India and China....................."

The tax and spending never stops my friends. Yes President Eisenhower warned us about the "military-industrial complex" but he overlooked the "education-spending complex" which now consumes nearly 50% of our state government budget. So how much should we "invest" in education -- 70, 80, or perhaps 90% of the budget?

How about instead of throwing more money at the problem we demand comprehensive reforms such as:

  • Differential salaries -- if we need more and better science teachers then let's pay such teachers premium salaries which are higher than their peers. It is time we used market forces versus collective bargaining.
  • Income tax reform -- to encourage new recruits to the teacher profession let's declare teacher salaries to be exempt from all federal, state, and city income taxes. Thus a teacher getting paid $60,000 per year (9 months of work with 3 months of summer off in most cases) paying a combined rate of 20% would see a $12,000 salary increase to $72,000. This salary annualized (9 months converted to 12 months) would then total $96,000 which is getting near the pay scale for Members of Congress :-)

So there you have it -- some innovative education reform ideas that do not cost us taxpayers one penny beyond what we are taxed today.

Reform on MacDuff and damned be the bureaucrat that says, "hold enough!",


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