Obama Education Secretary Arne Duncan: Pay ‘great’ teachers $150k

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday morning it’s time to hike teacher salaries, up to $150,000 annually if possible.

One of the hot-button issues in recent years has been government funding for education, how it is dispensed and the teachers’ unions role in making those decisions. Duncan says his take on the issue is “radical.”


“Yes, I’ve been very radical on this,” Duncan said. “I think young teachers — we should double salaries. A starting teacher should make $60-$65,000 [a year]. A great teacher should be able to make $130, $140-$150,000 [a year]. Pick a number. We have beaten down educators. We have to elevate the profession. We have to strengthen the profession. We have to reward excellence. Great teachers, great principals make a huge difference in our nation’s children. We have to invest in them and yes, need to reward excellence, particularly when great teachers are taking on tough assignments and inner-city schools in rural or remote areas, areas that of critical need like math and science — we have to get much more creative than we have in the past.”

But, Duncan said, performance incentives shouldn’t be relegated to base pay. There should also be a bonus structure in place.

“No, I think we need to do both,” Duncan said. “I think we need to raise the base pay. I think great teachers should be able to make a lot more money than they do today based upon the difference they’re making in students’ lives, based upon willingness to take on tough assignments in underserved communities.”

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