The former Massachusetts governor continued his criticism of unions on Sunday at a town hall meeting in Vernon Hills, Ill. "We should pay our beginning teachers more," he said, according to Crystal Lake Patch. "The national unions are too interested in benefits for the older teachers."I don't know why they would be: younger teachers pay the same dues as older teachers (at least, they do in New Jersey). The implication here is that the hated unions are protecting burned-out older teachers, who aren't nearly as effective and able to "connect" with their students as younger teachers.
I've tried to find some academic studies about this, but my first look has come up blank. Is there any evidence that a majority - or even a significant minority - of teachers simply give up late in their careers? Because there is significant research that shows that experience counts; for up to 30 years, it can make a difference.
Of course, there are undoubtedly some teachers who do burn out; the question is whether this is such a significant number that it's worth radically restructuring the compensation practices of the profession. Again, the burden of proof is on the reformyists: where is their evidence that large numbers of teachers are fried after 25 years on the job? And that those teachers are a significant factor in suppressing student achievement?
This is yet another example of how teaching is not treated like a "real" profession. Can you imagine anyone saying that he wants to avoid a doctor who had been treating patients for 30 years; that he wanted a younger, less-experienced doctor? That a pilot who had been flying commercially for 20 years was probably "burned out," and you'd be safer on a plane piloted by a younger, more "enthusiastic" captain?
So why do we treat teachers so differently?