30th place in teacher pay won’t cut it

Nashville cannot compete for great new teachers.

Metro Schools is not the easiest place to teach. It’s a large, urban district – the second largest in Tennessee – and brings all of the challenges that come with that. On top of that, 29 other districts in our state pay new teachers more money.

Put yourself in that position. If you were a fresh college graduate looking for a job, which would you choose? Nashville? Or making more money in the less complicated districts in Franklin, Lebanon or Murfreesboro?

We have the opportunity to change that right now. The proposal before the Metro Council is to raise Metro’s starting teacher salary to $40,000.  That moves us from a dismal 30th in starting teacher pay in Tennessee to 3rd – the spot this city needs and deserves.

This makes us more competitive in attracting great teachers right out of college. We can compete with other districts trying to hire them and attract more applicants, allowing us to choose the very best of the best.

Once here those new teachers will want to stay. They’ll stay because of our strong professional development, our exceptional principals, our commitment to technology, our leadership pipeline, our Master’s partnership with Vanderbilt University, our innovative practices (like Jere Baxter’s teacher-led school model), and on and on and on.

Once here they’ll help us further our successes. We have so many exceptional teachers in Metro Schools who have helped bring us this far. To keep our teaching force strong, we must bring more exceptional teachers to our growing district all the time.

We can bring them here by being competitive. 30th place is not competitive; 3rd place is.

Under this plan all teachers would see pay raises. All teachers could reach the top level of salary in just 15 years. The only Tennessee districts paying more would be Memphis and Shelby County.

Now where would you choose to teach?

Tell the Metro Council you want our city to compete for the best teachers. Tell them anything less than 3rd in the state is not enough. Great teachers are worth it.


3 thoughts on “30th place in teacher pay won’t cut it

  1. Pingback: Blog # 6 30th Place In Teacher Pay Won’t Cut It « mnarvae1

  2. I am a new teacher, and I only ever considered Metro as my back-up plan. To be honest, pay was not one of my top concerns. What Dr. Register and the remainder of the board fail to realize (as obvious as it may seem) is that the vast majority of new teachers are not entering into this profession for the money.

    Now, I don’t think anyone that frequents this space will say that teachers earn what they truly deserve, whether that’s $25,000 a year or $40,000. We KNOW we’re not going to make boatloads of money; if I wanted to make money and have “guaranteed employment” I would have gone into engineering. This job is about making a difference in the lives of our students. It’s about our addiction to that “light bulb moment”. It’s about working in an environment that nurtures and encourages our improvement and growth.

    The majority of MNPS buildings I’ve been in don’t provide that kind of encouragement and an increase in pay isn’t going to make me ignore that. There’s too much to worry about. The majority of students come from an uninspiring environment that lacks support. The focus is on standards and test scores as opposed to student well-being. These issues aren’t going to be easily solved, and the kinds of teachers that are attracted to high pay aren’t the people who are going to solve them.

  3. Will,

    It’s true not every teacher gets into it for the money. I can’t tell you how many times our teachers have used the exact same phrase in speaking with me – that “light bulb moment.”

    But I’m not sure you give a higher starting salary enough credit. While pay may not be #1 for everyone, it’s definitely an incentive. If you can have those wonderful moments of helping students AND make a more money to boot, that will definitely draw more candidates and keep them here longer.

    The Peabody College Dean of Education agrees with us: https://onpubliceducation.com/2012/06/04/peabody-education-dean-supports-our-plan-for-raising-teacher-pay/

    Thanks for your feedback.

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