Washington, D.C. teachers have agreed to a contract that includes pay for performance, reduced seniority protections — and hefty pay increases. Will this prove to be a model for the nation? National Journal’s Education Experts discuss the issue.
The new contract includes a pay raise of 21.6 percent over five years (retroactive to the expiration of the old contract) that will raise average annual salary from $67,000 to $81,000. Philanthropic support made the generous financial package possible. Under the new regime, principals will use job performance, as opposed to seniority, as the top criterion to make decisions about staff reductions when budget or program changes require it.
Will the new contract lead to improved performance at D.C. schools? Should other cities look for foundation support to supplement teacher pay? What are the national implications?
“Fundamentally, this agreement would allow DCPS to treat its teachers as individual professionals, with their own qualities, successes and failures,” writes Daniel Weisberg of The New Teacher Project.
Mike Antonucci of the Education Intelligence points to the very high costs:
The financial incentives to enroll in the voluntary performance pay program will have to be significant, since brand-new teachers who don’t enroll will receive a minimum salary of $51,539 in the 2011-12 school year – and those with 21+ years of experience will earn up to $106,540.
Will the new contract lead to improved performance of D.C. schools? Let’s hope so. But its extraordinary cost makes it an unlikely model for other U.S. school districts.
I think Antonucci is right about the money.
Rick Hess has more on the contract’s significance.