Mishel v. Podgursky

The latest Supreme Court decision? No, this is a debate between economists Larry Mishel and Mike Podgursky on teacher pay, hosted and posted by the National Council on Teacher Quality. If you know these fellas you can guess what sides they take, but lots of interesting data and nuances in this back-and-forth. Added bonus: funny caricatures of the debaters.

Like a lot of debates about teacher pay, this one tends to focus on whether average teacher pay is high enough. The implied policy question: should we raise teacher pay across the board? Problem here is that a substantial across the board raise would be incredibly expensive. In NC, for example, giving all teachers $5,000 raises would cost about $444 million annually, nearly 8% of the state’s ed budget.

And there’s little reason to believe the raise would result in increased student learning. More fruitful question: what kinds of targeted pay raises could really drive improvements? Differential pay for hard-to-staff schools, hard-to-fill positions, and demonstrated performance are all candidates, outlined in our PPI monograph on the topic and under experimentation in places like Denver.

— Guestblogger Bryan Hassel, Public Impact

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