Federal

Teacher Panel Calls for Overhaul of Pay

By Bess Keller — April 11, 2007 4 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A team of 18 blue-ribbon teachers released recommendations today for a significant overhaul of the way teachers are paid that include rewarding them individually and in small groups for raising student achievement over time and for taking on leadership roles.

In addition, the recommendations say that teachers should no longer be paid more for seniority alone or for coursework that does not translate into school or classroom improvements.

The 18 teachers, handpicked for demographic diversity as well as accomplishment by the Hillsborough, N.C.-based Center for Teaching Quality, which organized their work under the name TeacherSolutions, also recommended paying teachers more in recognition of local market conditions. Those conditions might include the need for teachers in high-demand fields such as science or those who serve in struggling schools. The panel added, however, that incentives to attract teachers to struggling schools should be contingent on evidence of their effectiveness with high-needs students.

The report, “Performance-Pay for Teachers: Designing a System that Students Deserve,” is posted by the Teacher Leaders Network. An executive summary and press release are also available.

Under a sample pay plan worked out for a “competitive metropolis” such as the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, teachers could make as little as $30,000 or as much as $130,000 annually depending on their experience, performance, and contribution, according to the report.

The 50-page report, produced by the teachers after more than a year of study and discussion, proposes raising teachers’ potential pay over a career by establishing experience levels—such as “novice,” “professional,” and “expert”—tied to “meaningful measures of student and teacher productivity.”

In the team’s vision, teachers would be eligible to move through those levels within 10 years but only if they met benchmarks of skill. Within the levels, teachers could negotiate higher salaries by presenting higher qualifications. For instance, the report says, a newly minted graduate of an exceptional teacher-preparation program specially trained to work in an urban environment could get a higher starting salary than a run-of-the-mill graduate.

Beyond those measures, teachers could earn annual supplements ranging from 5 percent to 15 percent of their base pay by increasing student learning, demonstrating advanced skills, meeting market needs and, eventually, providing leadership. Leadership activities would include mentoring new and prospective teachers, coaching and evaluating peers, building educational programs for the school and the community, and reaching out to parents.

Warnings Issued

The TeacherSolutions team issued warnings, too, citing the career ladders and new pay schemes that have fizzled in the past. Performance-pay increments should be open to all, not just geared to a percentage of the teaching force, as in Florida’s recently jettisoned teacher pay plan, or only to teachers in state-tested subjects as is the case in parts of the Houston school district’s year-old system.

Not only is the perception of fairness to teachers and to students at stake when participation is limited, but an underlying goal of a pay system should be to encourage collaboration among all teachers, the report says. It also contends that small-team collaboration, such as among teachers at a grade level or in a department, yields more student learning.

The report cites the new pay systems in Denver and Minneapolis, both results of joint union-administration agreements, and the Teacher Advancement Program, begun by the Santa Monica, Calif.-based Milken Foundation, as positive examples of what can be done. The Denver plan uses most of the same dimensions for bonus pay as that sketched by the report. The Minneapolis system emphasizes improved teacher evaluation coupled with targeted, in-school professional development. TAP shares features of both systems.

Anthony Cody, a member of the TeacherSolutions team and a teacher-coach in Oakland, Calif., said the time to rework compensation for teachers is now. “If it’s in the context of pay for professional growth and enhanced capacity to improve their practice, I think teachers are ready for that,” he said.

NEA Dismisses Recommendations

Not much support for the recommendations can be expected from the National Education Association, which represents about two-thirds of the nation’s public school teachers. NEA President Reg Weaver largely dismissed the panel’s recommendations as missing the point that teachers need to be paid more overall for their contribution to economic development.

“Many of these plans died because there was not enough money to be fully supportive of it,” he said. “And the way to enhance the economy is to invest in education. … Once salaries get to where they need to be, [we] can talk about a lot” of ways to improve teacher compensation, Mr. Weaver said.

The report released today will provide the foundation for another TeacherSolutions gathering in Chicago later this month, again with major support from the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation. The meeting will bring together teachers from the Cleveland, Chicago, and Milwaukee districts. Their task will be to see how the report’s recommendations might apply to their districts.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


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
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
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
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
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
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal New Federal Team to Work on Puerto Rico School Improvement, Oversight
The Puerto Rico Education Sustainability Team will focus on creating better learning environments and improving financial management.
3 min read
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits the Emilio Delgado School in Corozal on June 30, 2021 during a visit to Puerto Rico.
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits the Emilio Delgado School in Corozal on June 30, 2021 during a visit to Puerto Rico.
Teresa Canino Rivera/GDA via AP
Federal Pandemic Tests Limits of Cardona's Collaborative Approach as Education Secretary
He's sought the image of a veteran educator among former peers, but COVID has forced him to take a tough stance toward some state leaders.
10 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter speak to Mia Arias, 10, during their visit to P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021 in New York.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter speak to Mia Arias, 10, during a visit to P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school, last month.
Brittainy Newman/AP
Federal White House Launches Hispanic Education Initiative Led by Miguel Cardona
President Joe Biden said his administration intends to address the "systemic causes" of educational disparities faced by Hispanic students.
2 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona writes down and draws positive affirmations on poster board with students during his visit to P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021 in New York.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits students in New York City at P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school in the Bronx last month.
Brittainy Newman/AP
Federal Feds Add Florida to List of States Under Investigation Over Restrictions on Mask Mandates
The Education Department told the state Sept. 10 it will probe whether its mask rule is violating the rights of students with disabilities.
3 min read
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP