Reason asks if teachers are paid too much given their level of effectiveness:
Public school teachers make about $14,000 a year more in straight salary than private school teachers; when you add in benefits, the gap widens even more. They teach fewer students than ever before and taxpayers at all levels spend increasing amounts of money on education. Yet for all that, the best you can say is that we’re spending more than three times as much money as we were 40 years ago for exactly the same outcomes.
In other words, the short answer is “hell yes.”
In a free market, those wages would be determined by supply and demand, you know, those pesky market forces. Parents would be able to judge teachers’ performance and choose the best schools for their children. Schools would similarly be able to vet their employees in an effort to better themselves as a business (yes, schools are businesses, at least they should be) and compete with other schools. This competition amongst schools and teachers would lead to greater innovation, better services, and lower prices. It would also put all teachers on a level playing field by tying their wage to performance instead of their ability to collectively lobby elected officials.
Instead, the government thinks it best to imprison kids in a socialized, free-market antithesis of a system based merely on their geographical location. Born into a gang and drug ridden town? Too bad, you’re stuck in a lousy school because the government doesn’t want its employees to have to compete for your services.