Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12

Betsy DeVos. Donald Trump. The Every Student Succeeds Act. 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.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

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
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Data Analyst
New York, NY, US
New Visions for Public Schools

Read Next

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
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read