If one is only measuring student achievement based on standardized test scores, perhaps the current research regarding advanced degrees is accurate. However, there are intangibles that can’t be measured by standardized tests.
One is the confidence students often gain when they have a teacher with experience and advanced degrees. This summer, I was a student in two workshops, one an English Language Advanced Placement conference and the other, a Holocaust Education seminar at the Breman Museum. As soon as the instructors began, the first thing I wanted to know was their experience and degrees. The credentials of the instructors were so impressive, it would have been impossible for anyone to doubt the relevance of the material being delivered.
A more important intangible that can’t be measured with a test score is the example a teacher with an advanced degree brings to the classroom. Students can be confident teachers with advanced degrees have a commitment to and a love of learning. The education and experience my teachers brought to the classroom inspired me to want to someday know as much as they did.
Most likely, these policies will not go into effect until after I retire, but I fear what these will mean for new teachers. Uncoupling the pay of teachers from education and experience will mean new teachers will be at the mercy of the whims of their supervisors. Administrators may give teachers they like better evaluations and, in turn, these teachers will receive higher compensation. Now, teachers who teach at schools in affluent areas tend to have higher student scores. These teachers will receive higher pay simply because of the advantages their students already possess.
More importantly, if the past is any guide, it might well be 20 years from now that the research will show the complete opposite from what it purportedly shows now. When I was in my doctoral program, people were fond of repeating the adage, “Torture numbers long enough, and they will confess to anything.” It might be the common sense of the people working in an actual school setting is more accurate than the theoreticians and their statistics.