Pay for performance is just one part of Denver’s plan for compensating teachers, reports the Christian Science Monitor.
Under the new plan, which must be approved — and funded — by Denver voters, teachers would receive a set-percentage pay increase for completing an additional degree, or becoming nationally certified, for working in a poorly performing school, or for exceeding expectations on statewide tests.
The size of the incentives varies. A teacher who holds a national license would receive a 9 percent pay increase. For a starting teacher earning the district’s base pay of $32,971, that translates to $2,967 over a year. A teacher who also taught at a “hard to serve” school would get an additional 3 percent increase, or $989.
But the plan’s most controversial aspect links teacher pay to student performance. Teachers whose students beat expectations on the Colorado Student Achievement Test will also receive a 3 percent pay increase. They are eligible for another 1 percent increase — $330 a year — for meeting agreed-upon “student growth” objectives.
The plan gives a larger bonus for acquiring credentials than for raising test scores. And the incentive to teach at a tough school probably isn’t enough to lure experienced teachers, critics say. But if Denver makes this work, it will pressure other districts to look at ways to compensate teachers for job challenges and job performance.