The Crosby Chronicles: In teaching, you get what you pay for

In education we talk a lot about having high expectations for students, but in actuality the same concept does not apply to teachers.

Teachers don’t get paid according to their ability; rather, according to the years of experience and amount of college education.

That’s why whenever I look over my teacher contract and scan the salary schedule I cringe.

While teachers receive automatic pay increases during the first 12 years of employment, they only get 3 more increases the rest of their careers.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Raises are given at years 16, 18, and 28.  This includes a decade-long dry spell of not a penny more.

I can expect only one more raise in my career no matter if I teach 30, 35 or 40 total years.

And what does such stagnant salary increases say about what is expected from teachers?  Is it no surprise some older teachers don’t exert more energy, aren’t open to trying new things?  Why should they when they know that no matter how hard they work they won’t earn any more money?

The old adage “you get what you pay for” lives in the teaching profession.

Brian Crosby is a teacher in the Glendale Unified School District and the author of Smart Kids, Bad Schools and The $100,000 Teacher.  He can be reached at

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