As painful as the recession has been onschool districts, it provides a usefulopportunity to reexamine how money is spent.
When negotiating new teacher contracts, most districts, no doubt, are focusing discussions on avertingwage freezes and massive layoffs. But prudent districts—those looking for long-term solutions to budgetproblems as well as those seeking to more fairly compensate the most effective teachers—are reconsideringthe traditional salary schedule, which rewards teachers for years of experience and graduate credits.
More than a half century ago, districts developed teacher salary schedules, embedding the incentives for bothexperience and education as a response to real inequities in pay. Previously, higher salaries had been reserved for principals’ favorites, high school teachers rather than their elementary counterparts and males instead of females. But today, one can make the case that the current approach to teacher compensation has outlived its usefulness. For example, accountability systems discourage principals from making salary choices that are not in a school’s best interest and anti-discrimination laws protect teachers against unjust compensation decisions.
OK, the recession will decrease school revenues. So schools should look at getting rid of salary guides or modifying them as a way to save money.Most significantly, the salary schedule, as currently defined, does not consider teacher effectiveness, making itinherently unfair to talented teachers. It has also led to “wage compression,” meaning that teachers with themost aptitude earn no more than teachers with the lowest aptitude, rendering teaching an unattractive careerchoice for talented college graduates.1
The only way that would work is if the teacher makes LESS over his or her entire career, right? I mean, you wouldn't want a teacher to make MORE if revenues are down, wouldn't you?
So, in a time of decreasing revenues, NCTQ wants to raise the total payroll of teachers. Because the recession is giving us an opportunity to do so, as revenues are down. Or something; it's confusing...Despite comparable starting and ending salaries, teachersin Detroit, Boston and Columbus earn significantly moreduring their careers than teachers in Broward, Pittsburghand Northside because they do not have to wait until theend of their careers to receive a competitive salary. (p. 7)
By the way, NCTQ doesn't really give any practical strategies for how a district would implement their plan. Would you make the veterans take a pay cut? Good luck with that. They suggest eliminating masters bonuses; yes, after your staff has put in all those hours earning degrees, let's get rid of any reward for doing so - that'll raise morale...
Again: these people don't work in schools, so they don't know what's going on. I'm left to wonder: does the ABA release a lot of policy papers on public lawyer employment by written by people who aren't lawyers? Does the AMA support non-doctors and ONLY non-doctors making compensation policies for their members who are public servants?
Hey, but those are REAL professionals...