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  • London School of Economics

You never would've guessed it from the education "reform" debate going on here in the US, but it turns out that the teaching profession doesn't exist in some sort of bizarre alternate universe, operating under its own unique economic principles: According to a new study at the London School of Economics, if you pay teachers more, you'll attract better teachers. In fact, as the chart above shows, there's a direct correlation between teacher pay and student performance, with a 10 percent increase in teacher pay resulting in a 5 to 10 percent increase in test scores.

Who'd a thunk?

As usual, Atrios sums things up well:

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Yes it seems rather obvious that if you pay teachers more you'll probably get better ones. We seem to understand that in every other area of the economy. Perhaps if there was less of a constant drumbeat about how teachers were all history's greatest monsters some better people might be attracted into the profession, also, too.

It's interesting to note how advocates of charter schools, vouchers, merit pay, and other "market" based education reforms argue that competition is the magic panacea to all our K-12 ills, yet these same "reformers" seem to believe that the teaching profession is somehow immune to the economic forces and incentives that capitalist theory insists self-regulates all other labor markets. Huh.