D.C. teachers trade security for $$$

The proposed D.C. teacher contract offers “eye-popping” salaries, writes Rick Hess. Pay raises will be supplemented by performance bonuses.

Starting teachers will potentially be able to earn more than $72,000, as compared to the current $45,000. Teachers will be able to earn as much as $146,000, up from the current max of $87,000.

Unlike Superintendent Michelle Rhee’s original proposal, this contract “takes a clever, less-confrontational tack on tenure and seniority,” Hess writes. It should be easier to fire teachers who aren’t performing well.

Dismissed employees will still be able to fight terminations if they believe DCPS “did not follow the evaluation process.” DCPS officials tell me the result is school leaders have dramatically more freedom; but only time will tell whether this language amounts to a velvet revolution, or something less substantial.

Seniority rights will be much weaker. When layoffs are needed, the district will rely primarily on performance; seniority will count for only 10 percent.

Principals won’t be forced to hire teachers they don’t want. Laid-off teachers  who can’t find a new job will be let go with one year of leeway for teachers who meet “performance expectations.”

The $64.5 million in foundation funding that makes the contract possible isn’t so huge that the system will collapse when the commitment runs out, Hess predicts.

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  1. Alf Tupper says:

    UPS pays $74,000 to its drivers. If teachers don’t like the salary, there are alternatives.

  2. If only they had some worthwhile way to determine which teachers were good teachers and deserved the performance bonuses. The teachers whose principal is in a good mood – 100% will get bonuses. Those whose principal isn’t will all get fired.


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