This Contra Costa Times article can be read at one level as my school district, WCCUSD, taking a common sense approach to a desperate problem of a shortage of teachers. The coaches themselves are a controversial issue. Having teaching coaches could theoretically be a good thing, but in the past these coaches have often acted as education “commissars” creating more annoyance than enlightenment. It’s good to see them actually being put to useful work.

The text that leapt out at me, though, was this:

“Like other Bay Area school districts, West Contra Costa has struggled to find enough qualified, credentialed teachers, particularly in math and science.”

The conclusion some people will draw from this article is that teachers should be paid more in general. That may be true, but I also think it’s important to break out of the one-size-fits-all salary model for teacher pay. There is an even greater shortage of math and science teachers, so pay them more in bonuses or salary base. This is different from the merit or performance pay ideas that are wrongly being considered as part of the NCLB renewal process by the Bush administration. This would be a pragmatic measure to fill a gap.