James R. Carlson has helped negotiate some out-of-the-ordinary salary schedules for teachers over the years, with what he believes are promising results for both parties to the contracts.
As an advocate of new pay approaches, the Wisconsin union administrator—or UniServ director, in the parlance of the National Education Association—learned how few resources are freely available to practitioners, labor negotiators, administrators, and policymakers in search of a better way.
So Mr. Carlson, of the Kettle Moraine UniServ Council, based in Sheboygan, decided to step into the breach by launching the online Educator Compensation Institute. The institute aims to be an information clearinghouse on educator pay, especially systems that go beyond the standard grid based on years of experience and postgraduate credits.
The Web site, which went live this month, includes places for relevant research, news, pay plans, and legislative initiatives. An electronic newsletter, sent to subscribers, will examine a topic a month, such as Florida’s new pay-for-performance plan. The institute also offers paid services, such as on-site consultation.
Learn more about the Educator Compensation Institute.
Start-up money for the nonprofit organization has come from the NEA and its Wisconsin affiliate, but Mr. Carlson expects to get additional funds from administrator groups. Contributors include superintendents, union leaders, teachers, and researchers.
Mr. Carlson says that his own preference is for basing pay largely on teachers’ acquisition of new knowledge and skills. The ECI Web site, though, will be agnostic on the best approach, according to the union administrator.
“There’s not enough data to validate anybody’s claims,” he says.
A version of this article appeared in the January 24, 2007 edition of Education Week