Here’s a story that could be a portent of things to come: Georgia is starting to cancel pay bonuses for teachers who have earned advanced certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
The story does a good job of laying out the various issues, including the recent debates about the effects of the credential on student achievement.
But there’s another, broader issue lurking in all of this. When compensation bonuses—whether the National Education Association-friendly national-board certification or some other measure based on test scores—are layered on top of an existing salary schedule, rather than integrated structurally into compensation systems, they’re essentially much easier to cut when the going gets tough.
A lot of performance-pay programs have struggled to sustain their programs financially after an initial few years of start-up cash. It’s still a big question, for instance, as to what will happen with the first Teacher Incentive Fund grantees, now in years two and three of their five-year funding commitments.
Obviously, it’s politically more difficult to talk about totally rearranging the compensation structure rather than just layering new programs on top of it. But might it also help those programs stick around longer so that teachers can continue to have the opportunity to win higher salaries?
What do you think?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.