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Posted: May 3, 2009 12:01 a.m.

Our Thoughts... Where have all the math teachers gone?

In Friday’s paper we ran a story on how the Newton County School System was recruiting math and science teachers in India. At first blush this seems, well, not right.

In actuality the school board has made a wise and correct decision. There is a shortage of math and science teachers not only here in Newton County, but also nationwide.

Our goal should be to have the best education possible for our children here in Newton County. If we can’t hire teachers because they don’t exist for these highly valued positions, then we should search the planet — if necessary — to fill them.

Bringing teachers from other countries is not without precedent; teachers from Ireland and England have always been welcome in our schools both public and private.

Our major concern should be that the schools cannot compete for the talent that is coming out of the universities. We hope the governor’s proposal to pay new math and science teachers as a fifth year teacher, will encourage young people to earn degrees in these fields.

If you are a graduate today, would you like to be paid a modest salary to work with children, spend your weekends grading tests and setting curriculum and to be held up to public scrutiny by the press, or would you rather earn a six-figure salary, have your weekends free and clear and be at the pool working on your suntan with all of your flex time?

Most would choose the latter.

There is no question we should pay our teachers more, especially the ones in the skilled positions such as math, science and special education. But, if we do pay more, just as in private business, teacher’s yearly performance should be the judge of that pay and not the number of years he or she has spent in the profession.

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