Monica and Todd debate whether teachers' salaries should vary according to the subject they teach.
Todd: Okay Monica, in the last debate we were talking about sports and winning and it led us to the argument of teachers' pay, and that maybe teachers should not be paid equally. Some teachers should be more than others at the same school. I agree. I think that teachers definitely should have a different pay scale, and that, for example a science teacher should get paid more than, let's say, an English teacher, because a science teacher's skill is more valuable, and he can take that skill to private industry.
Do you agree with that?
Monica: No. I don't agree with that.
Todd: Okay, well, what do you disagree with?
Monica: Well, your argument is that the science teacher can take their skill to the private industry, and, I mean, I don't see how that relates to their pay scale in a school.
Todd: Yeah but, the thing is is, you need science teachers, right? And, they're very scarce. So you have to get science teachers to teach high school where they're needed. So in order to get them to go to those schools you have to give them a higher salary. Or if you don't, you're just not going to get the people to teach science. They're just going to go work in the private sector.
Monica: But you're talking about science being the most important subject, in terms of not being able to find teachers, but, I mean, I'm not sure which country you're talking about, but I know in New Zealand right now they're really short of technology teachers, and maths teachers.
So yes, so similarly, so because there's a shortage, don't you think that they should get paid more than other teachers where there's not a shortage. That's kind of basic economics. That's how you take care of the...
Monica: Yeah, no, I don't think that's the way to solve the problem. Because if you have in a school, teachers getting paid more for what's in effect the same work as another teacher, you're going to create a lot of animosity, amongst your staff. And I think in a situation where you have a shortage like that, you don't have enough science teachers, or you don't have enough technology teachers, you have to look at the root of the problem, or more deeply, and you have to provide the support in the school so that those teachers want to be there.