We’ve heard a lot this year about the effects the “great resignation” is having on education and about how unhappy teachers are right now. Not everyone believes teachers are leaving their profession in droves, but the dissatisfaction seems real.
Here’s an idea – why not give teachers big bonuses from all the money the federal government dumped into education this year?
The American Rescue Plan (ARP), passed in March last year, included $123 billion for K-12 education, which is enough to give each teacher a $38,000 bonus. Wouldn’t that help improve teacher satisfaction?
You would think the largest teachers union would be pushing to give teachers hazard pay to boost morale.
Instead, the National Education Association advocated to use the ARP money set aside for educators to hire more support staff, mental health experts, nurses, and janitors.
If you understand the NEA’s incentives, this makes sense. Let’s assume average union dues are about $800 a year (in many places they’re more). Hiring an additional 10,000 employees who could become NEA members would mean a yearly $8 million windfall for the NEA and its affiliates.
But giving more money to current teachers doesn’t help the NEA at all.
Maybe we’re starting to understand why teachers are so frustrated even though they have a big, powerful union.