Paying Teachers More And Differently
The report identifies four conditions under which teachers should be eligible to receive performance-based salary increases:
- promoting significant academic gains
- developing and using new, relevant skills
- working in high need schools and positions
- providing school and community leadership.
I like this report for numerous reasons, but especially numbers 1 and 3. These criteria demonstrate an understanding that performance pay is not about keeping up with the Jones or making reparations for generations of underpayment or a stipend for Caring So Much (CSM), but is rather a tool to promote further student achievement. Any performance pay system that is not designed around the goal of improving teaching and learning is fundamentally flawed, and this work demonstrates an understanding of this and avoids that common pitfall. Moreover, it includes the key principle that despite feel-good statements (commonly made in Masters classes across this great land) all teaching is not equal -- not in its demands, not in its difficulties -- and therefore should not be treated equally in terms of its rewards. Folks who work in high needs schools with purpose and deliberation rather than accident and last resort should be paid more. Folks who teach math and science in places where those skills are in high demand across employment sectors should be paid more. Big time.
I hesitate slightly at #2 because I think it is redundant. If those new skills and knowledge are valuable, they will be reflected in student achievement (#1). If they aren't, and a lot of the stuff that looks good on the surface (We're all GLAD trained! My students make PowerPoints!) never gets done to that level of actually improving teaching and learning, we should not build in systems of reward.
That said, this is strong work and solid thinking. Now let's make sure that the folks who possess this clarity of vision get themselves into union leadership positions so we can make this happen.