Opinion
Education Funding Letter to the Editor

Teacher Compensation Is ‘One Piece of the Puzzle’

September 18, 2012 1 min read

To the Editor:

Laura Overdeck, Arthur Levine, and Christopher Daggett are exactly on target in “Rethinking Teacher Compensation” (Aug. 22, 2012). Indeed, we must reassess and front-load how we pay teachers as a first step toward attracting and keeping the most effective candidates. However, front-loading compensation is incomplete.

Compensation is only one piece of the puzzle in attracting, retaining, and motivating the quality and type of teachers we need. Study after study tells us that working conditions trump or equal compensation when teachers consider the qualities of their profession.

In addition, simply raising salaries on top of current structures that do not differentiate based on performance and labor-market contexts neglects the significant impact of these two factors on teacher retention and the ultimate quality of the workforce.

Current compensation structures that mostly differentiate based on years in the job and education attainment provide financial incentives for less effective individuals to enter and stay. Meanwhile, teaching becomes a less attractive option for individuals with higher salary opportunities in the labor market.

Rethinking teacher compensation is a first step. But restructuring the teaching job is the way to truly have an impact on the bottom line: student performance.

Karen Hawley Miles

Executive Director

Education Resource Strategies

Watertown, Mass.

A version of this article appeared in the September 19, 2012 edition of Education Week as Teacher Compensation Is ‘One Piece of the Puzzle’

Events

Student Well-Being Webinar Boosting Teacher and Student Motivation During the Pandemic: What It Takes
Join Alyson Klein and her expert guests for practical tips and discussion on how to keep students and teachers motivated as the pandemic drags on.
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
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Holistic Approach to Social-Emotional Learning
Register to learn about the components and benefits of holistically implemented SEL.
Content provided by Committee for Children
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
Student Well-Being Webinar
How Principals Can Support Student Well-Being During COVID
Join this webinar for tips on how to support and prioritize student health and well-being during COVID.
Content provided by Unruly Studios

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Interdisciplinary STEAM Specialist
Smyrna, Georgia
St. Benedict's Episcopal School
Interdisciplinary STEAM Specialist
Smyrna, Georgia
St. Benedict's Episcopal School
Arizona School Data Analyst - (AZVA)
Arizona, United States
K12 Inc.
Software Engineer
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association

Read Next

Education Funding Opinion What's It Take for Philanthropy to Help Rural Schools?
Place-based philanthropy has enormous potential to revitalize rural communities. The trick is, it’s tough to get this sort of approach right.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Education Funding Summer School, Extended Learning a Priority in $129 Billion COVID-19 Relief Bill
The reconciliation bill from House Democrats is an early attempt at what's shaping up to be a new federal aid package for education.
5 min read
A staff member holds the door open for kids on the first day of school at Goodwin Frazier Elementary School in New Braunfels, Texas on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020.
A staff member holds the door open for kids on the first day of school at Goodwin Frazier Elementary School in New Braunfels, Texas on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020.
Mikala Compton/Herald-Zeitung via AP
Education Funding Details of Biden's Education Relief Pitch Prioritize Smaller Classes, Avoiding Layoffs
The administration's breakdown of COVID-19 needs also includes $50 billion for social distancing and $29 billion for learning recovery.
5 min read
Image of the White House seal
Bet Noire/Getty
Education Funding Lawmakers Push $75 Billion for Learning Recovery Among Trio of COVID-19 Bills
The legislation, which also covers school infrastructure and education jobs, could become the vehicle for Biden's K-12 relief plan.
6 min read
Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., speaks during a news conference in Washington on June 24, 2020.
Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., speaks during a news conference in Washington on June 24, 2020.
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP