"Teacher Equity Can Improve Education." By William L. Bainbridge. January 2, 2003.


USA TODAY - January 2, 2003

Teacher Equity Can Improve Education

Gannett News Service's investigation of teacher distribution really hit the mark. (" A substitute for an education : Least qualified teachers often teach poor, minority kids," LIFE, Dec 23).

At a holiday social gathering years ago, several classroom teachers were discussing their "promotions." My initial positive reaction soon turned to a sickening lump in my stomach.

What these teachers were referring to as a professional advancement was really a transfer in their assignments from a school serving students from mostly low socio- economic backgrounds to one with students from more affluent families.

Wealthier school systems attract better teacher-applicants because the candidates know:

  • Affluent school systems pay, on average, higher salaries.
  • The financial stability of such systems creates better job security.
  • Working conditions tend to be better in those systems where caps are less likely on construction and maintenance.
  • Career-ladder opportunities often are better.
The reality of the school equity issue is very simple: Children living in affluent areas are much more likely to have high-quality teachers.

If the education system ever is to be better balanced for all children, we must first fix the issue of teacher recruitment by providing all school systems with tools and incentives to attract the best candidates.

Surely, we can at least design some steps to begin to achieve teacher quality equity in our public schools.

William L. Bainbridge,Ph.D.
President & CEO,SchoolMatch
Distinguished Research Professor
The University of Dayton, Ohio