A Center for Teaching Quality report, written by a team of teachers, calls for changing how teachers are paid. Instead of rewarding teachers for seniority or taking courses that don’t affect student learning, salaries should be linked to raising student achievement and taking leadership roles, the teachers conclude. The TeacherSolutions team also recommended paying more to teachers with high-demand skills or those who teach effectively in high-need schools. Education Week reports:
. . . 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.
Team member Betsy Roger, National Teacher of the Year in 2003, argues for performance pay in Teacher Magazine, recalling a conversation with a hard-working and successful teacher who asked why she was earning the same pay as “Ms. Early,” so called because she took early retirement without leaving her job. It was a good question, Rogers concluded.
We make it clear that the first step in building a new incentives-driven compensation system for teachers is to get the base-pay system right. But we cannot stop there. We have to provide more for those teachers who continually go above and beyond to ensure high academic gains. We have to provide rewards for teachers who step out and become leaders in their schools. We need incentives that support teachers who work in teams to help students achieve more, or who reach out to the community beyond the school to increase support for student learning.
“Ms. Early” is still on the payroll at the Alabama school where Rogers is trying to improve instruction.
Discussion of performance pay no longer is taboo for teachers, Eduwonk notes. That’s an important step.