Columnist just “kissed the rings of constituent groups” with teacher talk
To the Editor:
I missed the column on the intrinsic value of teachers that so incensed Dave Belton in his “stop insulting our teachers” column. Unfortunately, Belton did not shed much light on the subject. He kissed the rings of the constituent groups that elected him, and he committed the fallacy of appeal to authority three times, but his justification for the status quo was simply an emotional argumentum ad populum.
Assuming his objection was to the use of intrinsic value as a basis for remunerating teachers, I agree. Intrinsic value is an ethical concept; market value is the appropriate economic concept. Teachers agree to accept a salary specified (primarily) by the state, and if a teacher believes that the salary is too low, he is free to find some other employment.
My problem with the system is that these salaries are determined by the state, in negotiation with representatives of teachers, but the money that is spent is taken from the citizens, and the taxpayers have little input in the matter. The intervention of the state distorts the market, and the taxpayer is stuck with the bill. That by itself is one good argument for private schools.
But, please, do not take my word for it, and do not take Belton’s word for it. See for yourself. You can check out market prices for teachers, and other state employees, at http://open.georgia.gov/sta/viewMain.aud.
Printed in the October 4, 2012 edition.