Teaching Profession

Cleveland Overhauls Merit Pay to Avert Strike

By Emmanuel Felton — September 09, 2016 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

While many of the details of a last-minute contract deal hashed out between the Cleveland school district and its teachers’ union remain murky, it’s now clear that the district has agreed to completely overhaul its merit-pay system.

Since 2013, the district has been deciding which educators got raises solely based on ratings from teacher evaluations, which were largely derived from students’ test scores. Under the new deal, which averted a planned strike, the district will continue to have a merit-pay system, which is required by state law, but only teachers with the worst evaluation rating won’t be given raises, reports The Plain Dealer.

According to the newspaper, the new three-year deal would give uniform raises to every teacher who isn’t rated ineffective. Last school year, just 1 percent of teachers were given that rating, down from 4 percent the year before. In addition to those pay raises, the new plan will give teachers who score the highest rating a $4,000 bonus, fulfilling the state’s merit-pay requirements.

Teachers will move up a defined pay ladder every two years if they don’t recieve a rating of ineffective, moving the district back to a more conventional pay scale.

“It’s more traditional,” Cleveland Teachers Union President David Quolke told The Plain Dealer. “Teachers will move every two years if they’re not ineffective. It takes a lot of pressure off the evaluation system.”

Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon stressed to the newspaper that the new system is still a merit-pay plan, but added that, “Reasonable people should learn from their lessons and make improvements.”

This seems to be a lesson that policymakers around the country are learning, as districts and states have come to rethink how student test scores are used to reward or punish educators. As Education Week’s Stephen Sawchuk reported earlier this year, after the passage of the new Every Student Succeeds Act, which explicitly establishes that states need not have teacher-evaluation systems that heavily rely on student test scores, some states have started to reconsider the role of tests in evaluating educators.

While the Cleveland deal doesn’t alter the weight placed on testing in teacher evaluations, it does lower the stakes attached to those tests for teachers. Additionally, StateImpact Ohio reports that the tentative agreement also has provisions that reduce the amount of student testing.

While Cleveland’s tentative deal revamps how teacher pay will be determined, how much teachers will be paid will continue to be an open question for at least another few months.The district and the teachers union will start negotiating pay after Cleveland residents vote on whether to renew a tax that puts $65 million a year into the district’s coffers. Residents will vote on the levy in November.

Full details of the new contract is expected after CTU members’ votes are tallied on September 22nd, reports StateImpact Ohio.


A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.


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

Teaching Profession Reported Essay Teachers Are Not OK, Even Though We Need Them to Be
The pandemic has put teachers through the wringer. Administrators must think about staff well-being differently.
6 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Teaching Profession We Feel Your Grief: Remembering the 1,000 Plus Educators Who've Died of COVID-19
The heartbreaking tally of lives lost to the coronavirus continues to rise and take a steep toll on school communities.
3 min read
090321 1000 Educators Lost BS
Education Week
Teaching Profession Letter to the Editor Educators Have a Responsibility to Support the Common Good
A science teacher responds to another science teacher's hesitation to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
1 min read
Teaching Profession With Vaccine Mandates on the Rise, Some Teachers May Face Discipline
With a vaccine now fully FDA-approved, more states and districts will likely require school staff get vaccinated. The logistics are tricky.
9 min read
Grace John, who works at a school in San Lorenzo, gets a COVID-19 shot at a mobile vaccination clinic run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state in Hayward, Calif., on Feb. 19, 2021. California will become the first state in the nation to require all teachers and school staff to get vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. The statewide vaccine mandate for K-12 educators comes as schools return from summer break amid growing concerns of the highly contagious delta variant.
Grace John, who works at a school in San Lorenzo, gets a COVID-19 shot at a mobile vaccination clinic in Hayward, Calif. California is among those states requiring all teachers and school staff to get vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
Terry Chea/AP