Teacher Pay | St. Louis Public Radio

Teacher Pay

Leslie Forsythe, a substitute teacher at the Affton Early Childhood Center, coaxes a student into a classroom on the first day of school Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019.
File photo| Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

School districts in St. Louis are trying new ways to get a qualified adult in classrooms when the teacher is out.

Districts have employed technology, pay bumps and advertising as they compete for a small pool of people willing to supervise students in a pinch.

There's a serious teacher shortage in Kansas City and across the country, as fewer people pursue a career that often involves low pay, high stress and lack of community support.

Missouri’s teaching colleges are battling that trend, trying new strategies to attract students pursuing education degrees and to answer a vital need for quality instructors in every classroom.

Brionna Taylor high-fives one of her second-graders at Bryan Hill Elementary School in St. Louis' College Hill neighborhood.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Low pay is the top reason teachers leave the classroom, a new survey of Missouri public school educators found.

The state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education asked 6,000 teachers, principals and administrators what makes them keep teaching and what makes them quit. The results were shared at Tuesday’s State Board of Education meeting.

University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Education's James Shuls (at left), SLPS Superintendent Kelvin Adams (at center) and Missouri NEA Legislative Director Otto Fajen discussed challenges surrounding teacher compensation.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Earlier this week, the local union representing educators who serve in St. Louis Public Schools began arbitration relating to its claims about pay discrepancy within the district.

American Federation of Teachers Local 420 claims many of its members are being paid less than colleagues with the same credentials and are seeking $10 million worth of salary increases and back pay for nearly 1,000 teachers and support staff.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh led a conversation in light of that news, touching on challenges surrounding teacher compensation as well as other matters. Joining the discussion were SLPS Superintendent Kelvin Adams, Missouri NEA Legislative Director Otto Fajen and the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Education’s James Shuls

Iris Jackson works with first-graders at Patrick Henry Downtown Academy in St. Louis on a reading comprehension assignment in November. Jackson is a member of a new teacher residency program that's trying to reduce teacher turnover.
File photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s education oversight board wants to better understand why one in seven public-school teachers in the state quit every school year.

The State Board of Education discussed teacher pay and retention at its January meeting Tuesday. It was the first gathering for education commissioner Margie Vandeven since being removed from the post by then-Gov. Eric Greitens in December 2017 and then hired back last year.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 6, 2009 - Tying bonuses to job performance has long been a practice in the corporate world. But as the news out of Wall Street shows, the dangled-carrot approach can sometimes backfire. One potential reason is highlighted in a recent study co-authored by Judi McLean Parks, professor of organizational behavior at Washington University's Olin School of Business.