A new report from the Center on Reinventing Public Education confirms that paying teachers a stipend for possession of a master’s degree is a waste of money.

Having a master’s degree does not necessarily make a teacher a better teacher. In fact, research clearly finds that possession of an advanced degree has absolutely no correlation to higher teacher effectiveness or student achievement. Our white paper on teacher compensation discusses this misconception.

Here are a couple of remarkable facts. Ninety percent of teacher’s master degrees are in education programs (not the subject area they teach). Most school districts give teachers a financial incentive to attain a master’s degree and thus, it should not surprise us that master’s degrees in education had the highest growth rate of all master’s degrees between 1997 and 2007.

In Texas, 27% of teachers have a master’s degree and, as a result, receive an extra $1,423 per year on average. This equals more than $124.5 million spent on an outdated method of compensation that has no bearing on increasing learning in the classroom!

During this recession, school leaders are likely looking for easy ways to cut their school budgets without hurting students. Here is an easy thing to cut for all new teachers hired and phased out over time for current teachers.

– Brooke Terry