As teachers’ salaries look poised to remain stagnant or decrease going forward, expectations for public school teachers to pay additional income into their health benefits compromises the logic of attempting to improve the quality of the teaching force during national reform. Thinkers like Paul Krugman have done a wonderful job illustrating that teacher compensation issues in relationship to state deficits have been largely overstated. Furthermore once the private sector salaries reap the benefits of economic expansion and growth, public sector salaries are at risk of remaining depressed. Consequently, public education will lose out on young professionals who choose other professions because of better and more attractive compensation packages. Moreover, teacher salary erosion will mark the return of education as the noble profession.
As the general public continues to attack public school teachers for salary and benefits costs, New Jersey’s pension fund remains underfunded. Public school teachers unfortunately do not have opportunities to have their employers match retirement contributions nor are they eligible for yearly bonuses. They also do not have the security of severance packages if they lose their jobs. Subsequently, public school teachers and their salary packages cannot be compared to private sector employees. In fact, salary packages are critical to maintain the quality of existing and newly hired teachers. [emphasis mine]We're getting some great additions to the NJ edu-political blogosphere; I'll be checking back here frequently.