After-school inactivity

From an editorial Thursday in the (Raleigh) News & Observer:

North Carolina is in the midst of a debate over how to improve teacher pay, but one overlooked aspect is how much teachers are paid when they’re working outside the classroom but still serving their schools.

That compensation is called supplemental or extra duty pay. It applies to high school sports coaches, athletic directors, band directors and other positions. While teacher pay in general is too low, the compensation for those who work long hours in extracurricular areas is especially dismal.

Higher pay isn’t simply a matter of fairness. It’s a matter of effectiveness and what’s best for students who participate in extracurricular activities. The extra pay is so low that teachers often can’t afford to play the out-of-classroom roles to the extent they once did. They can make more money with almost any other part-time job.

As a result, schools must turn to parents and other non-teachers to oversee activities. It’s better to have activities supervised by teachers vetted by the system.

Better extra duty pay also is a way to offset the low compensation for teaching. It would benefit a school’s culture, the quality of its extracurricular activities and the experience of students who participate in them.