Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states.

Education

Salary Comparability: Coming to an ESEA Bill Near You?

By Alyson Klein — October 04, 2010 2 min read

Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., who has made school finance a signature issue during his time in Congress, thinks that salary comparability is an idea whose time has come. And he says he has support from leaders on the House Education and Labor Committee, to include it the upcoming reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

What exactly is salary comparability? Well, in a nutshell, it’s a way of assuring that Title I schools with a large number of newer, lower-salaried teachers get their fair share of federal funding. Right now, districts don’t have to count teachers’ actual salaries in doling out local funds equally, which among the preconditions for tapping Title I funds for disadvantaged students. Districts just have to make sure all teachers are on the same pay scale. Salary comparability advocates say that effectively penalizes high-poverty schools with lots of young, novice teachers.

The last time Congress tried to reauthorize ESEA, salary comparability was far from a slam dunk. In fact, it was on a (pretty long) list of issues that doomed the first attempt by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the chairman of the education committee, to renew the law, back in 2007.

But the ground may have shifted in the past few years. Fattah’s bill is backed not only by long-time, prominent proponents of the issue, such as the Education Trust, but also one-time detractors, including the National Education Association. Back in 2007, the union was worried that the language could require teachers to transfer against their will, but they say that concern has been assuaged. (For more on this issue, and NEA’s support for the bill, check out this blog item by Edweek’s resident salary comparability expert: Steve Sawchuk of Teacher Beat fame.)

“The common sense [on the issue] has broken through,” Fattah told me an interview. Fattah said he’d spoken to Miller about the issue and expected the language to be included in a reauthorization proposal.

Unless something miraculous happens, we probably won’t see a full-fledged ESEA bill released in either chamber this year, much less signed into law. Still, key staff members from both parties are meeting regularly and trying to pinpoint areas of bipartisan agreement. The discussions could lay the groundwork for moving a renewal bill next year, no matter who is control of Congress.

Fattah is hoping that the bill will even the playing field for the nation’s poorest children, who frequently are given the fewest resources, he said.

“Poor children receive the least of everything we know they need to get an education,” he said.

Fattah was also a lead sponsor of legislation to create a commission on fiscal equity. He’s hoping the panel will propose solutions to help ensure that poor kids are given their fair share of resources.

The commission needn’t “recite the problem” of a lack of fiscal equity, Fattah said. But it should help devise “some consensus around the need for us to actually do something about this problem.”

Fattah is running for chairman (or top Democrat, depending on the results of the midterms) of the House Appropriations Committee, replacing Rep. David Obey, who is retiring this year. Rep. Norm Dicks of Washington is also running for the post.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Director of Information Technology
Montpelier, Vermont
Washington Central UUSD
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Director of Athletics
Farmington, Connecticut
Farmington Public Schools
Head of Lower School
San Diego, California
San Diego Jewish Academy

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read