Good teachers deserve to be paid a lot more than they are, and if it were up to me there’d be a huge bonus pool, with big fat raises for some of the underpaid but outstanding teachers I know. It’s no fair that the bottom 10% get to dictate how the top 10% are paid. In competitive industries (like small business, real estate, restaurants, any international company), your income is based on performance, not years of experience, which is why I I don’t think you should evaluate teachers strictly based on their number of years of experience either. But if you’re curious how school districts compare, this chart should help:
I calculated the number of teachers in Bellevue and Mercer Island who have various numbers of years of experience. In my rush I couldn’t think of a better way to label the graph, but basically each column represents the percentage of teachers whose years of teaching experience are somewhere between the previous column and this one.
For example, 27% of Mercer Island teachers have between 0 and 5 years of experience, while 38% of Bellevue teachers fit that category; 23% of Mercer Island teachers have been on the job between 20 and 30 years while only 11% of Bellevue teachers have.
Generally speaking, Bellevue has fresher teachers than Mercer Island. Since the union-mandated payscale cares only how long somebody has been on the job, no matter what their competency or fitness for teaching, this explains why Mercer Island salaries are slightly higher.
[9/23: I updated this post a bit to explain better what I think]