By Steve Gunn

GROSSE POINTE, Mich. – We’ve heard that a lot of great teachers around the nation would like to escape the shackles of union pay scales so they can earn what they’re worth on the open market.

Gary Abud, a math teacher at Grosse Pointe North High School, is a prime example of an outstanding teacher stuck in a union system that does not recognize or reward excellence.

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Abud was recently named the 2012-13 Michigan Teachers of Year, according to the His superintendent described him as “a teacher amongst teachers.”

Yet Abud earned $56,876 last year, about 20,000 less than the average teacher salary in his school district, and less than the state average of $62,631, the news report said.

Why? Because his union (and most throughout the state and nation) still insists on using a socialist-style pay scale that’s largely based on seniority. The top salaries go to the longest-serving teachers, regardless of their effectiveness in the classroom.

That’s the traditional union way – pay based on showing up year after year, with no consideration of the quality of work produced.

“Paying teachers as if they are assembly line workers is not a good way of rewarding teachers who do a great job,” said Michael Van Beek, director of education policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy Research.

Michigan lawmakers are trying to address this obvious problem. House Bill 4625 would require school districts to use “objective merit” as one criteria for determining teacher compensation, the news report said.

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The bill has been approved by the House Education Committee and will now move on to the full chamber.

With Republicans in control of both houses of the legislature, and a Republican governor, there’s probably a pretty good chance for the bill to become law.

That would allow the best Michigan teachers to finally step forward and demand to be fairly compensated for the outstanding work they do.