If you want better qualified math and science teachers, you have to pay them more.
That's was the recent message from state Superintendent Mike Flanagan, who heads up the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). Flanagan spoke to an assembly of scientists at Michigan State Monday, noting that the state needs more math and science teachers.
However, according to Flanagan, most scientists and mathematicians don't consider teaching in public schools to be a viable career option.
"We can do all we want with content standards, but the elephant in the room is that it won't do much good if we don't have enough math and science teachers in our schools," Flanagan said, according to a press release from the state.
So how much do Flanagan think teachers should make? $100,000 a year, he said.
"When you ratchet up teacher salaries to $100,000-plus, market forces will director more mid-career changers and you'll attract more math and science college students into our educator prep programs," he said.
In Birmingham, the average teachers salary in 2010-11, according to district officials, was $75,323.07.
That's lower than the average salary in Troy, at $76,726 but higher than the average teachers salary in Bloomfield Hills and Rochester. According to statistics from the MDE website, the average salary in Bloomfield Hills was $69,764 and $69,584 in Rochester.
However,average teacher salaries varying by tens of thousands of dollars across the state. No district's average salary hit $100,000 in 2010-11.
"We need to be moving all teachers to that salary level ($100,000) to continue getting the best and brightest people educating our students," Flanagan said. "It's all about talent."
Will increasing the salaries of Michigan teachers attract more math and science teachers?
Correction: The average teachers salary at Birmingham Public Schools in 2010-11 was $75,323.07, district officials said Jan. 31. The original version of this story incorrectly stated that Birmingham had the highest average teacher salary in the state, at $94,703. This number was provided by the Michigan Department of Education, however district officials said this week that salary data had been mis-reported to the state in 2011.