One of the most common myths in education is that school choice is somehow bad for public school teachers. In fact, teachers started striking against school choice in Los Angeles just last week. However, basic economic theory tells us that school choice is actually good for teachers because it introduces competition for their employers. In a competitive education labor market, employers must compete for talent by offering teachers smaller class sizes, more autonomy, and higher salaries.
In fact, the five studies that exist on the subject all find that charter and private school choice leads to higher salaries for teachers in traditional public schools. For example, a study published in the Journal of Public Economics finds that charter school competition increases teacher salaries by about 3.4 percent in difficult-to-staff public schools. None of the five studies indicate that school choice competition is bad for public school teachers.
But that’s not all. As shown in Andrew Coulson’s School Inc. documentary, teachers in private institutions in South Korea are highly satisfied with their jobs because their students actually want to be there. And, of course, it’s easier for teachers in private educational institutions (“hagwons”) to tailor their lessons to students because the children “are matched with classes based on their performance levels” and interests.
Highly demanded teachers in South Korea are also financially rewarded for a job well done. As shown in the clip below, some of the teachers make well over $1 million each year. Now that’s an incentive structure that’s good for both students and teachers.
Maybe the teachers in Los Angeles should have been striking for more school choice, not less.
Corey A. DeAngelis is a Policy Analyst at the Cato Center for Educational Freedom. He is also a Policy Advisor and Contributing Editor for the Heartland Institute.
His research focuses on the effects of educational choice programs on student achievement and non-academic outcomes such as criminal activity, political and economic freedom, schooling supply, and fiscal impacts. Corey has published several studies on educational choice programs with organizations such as the School Choice Demonstration Project, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. His research has been published in peer-reviewed academic journals such as the Journal of School Choice, School Effectiveness and School Improvement, Educational Review, Educational Research and Evaluation, and the Cato Journal. His work is also featured at at outlets such as USA Today, The Hill, Washington Examiner, Foundation for Economic Education, EdChoice, and Education Next.
Corey received his Ph.D. in Education Policy from the University of Arkansas. He additionally holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Economics from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
This article was originally published at CATO.org. Read the original article.
Reprinted under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.