Better management practices will produce satisfied teachers
David E. Bosley - Grifton, N.C.
In the 1940s, I taught for a couple of years for $110 a month, summers excluded. Then as now, teachers wanted more pay ("Higher salaries for teachers would yield better students," Letters, Feb. 4).
(Photo — Teachers’ strike: The 850 teachers in Pennsylvania’s Downingtown Area School District walk the line Jan. 29. The first strike there in 28 years ended last week. / By Ed Hille, The Philadelphia Inquirer, via AP)
But I don't think giving teachers bigger salaries is going to make them better teachers, just as I don't think most will purposely be bad teachers just because they're underpaid.
A more fruitful area to explore is how schools are managed. If schools better manage their teachers by providing them with good support, rewarding their work in small and big ways, and letting them teach what they are passionate about, the field likely would sustain more teachers.
Teachers, of course, should have more money; we all should. But that has never been the crucial element of education. A more promising remedy would be to implement management techniques, such as the kind that mathematician W. Edwards Deming implemented successfully in Japanese industries. Through statistical tests, Deming was able to find out the weaknesses and strengths of companies and help them thrive during the late 1940s. Likewise, variables among different schools could be compared statistically to find out how to better improve the education system.