If the teacher is good, students learn even in a large class. If the teacher is so-so, a small class doesn’t help. Rick Hess proposes gold-star teachers who’d earn more for teaching larger classes. Students would be placed in gold-star classes only by request.
Teachers whose students post larger-than-normal gains for at least two consecutive years would be eligible to opt into the program. . . . Participating teachers would teach up to 50% more students than normal–say, 36 students rather than 24–and would be rewarded for their increased workload. Continued participation would depend on a teacher’s students continuing to make larger-than-normal gains.
Increasing class size by one student saves about $3,000, using average teacher salaries and benefits, Hess writes. A gold-star teacher who taught 36 rather than 24 students would save $36,000.
Awarding the teacher half that amount yields an $18,000 productivity bonus (a 35% bump for the median teacher). The state and district would split the other $18,000. Even on a trial basis in grades four through eight, such a program could help states shave school spending by two or three percent–tallying hundreds of millions in some cases while rewarding excellent educators.
Could this work?
Learn Anytime online classes at Kentucky’s Jefferson Community and Technical College pay instructors $65 per student. One very hard-working adjunct instructor earned $120,000 last year. See Community College Spotlight for more.