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Are Teachers Being Shortchanged? This Report Says Yes!
posted by: Alana | July 23, 2014, 03:25 PM   

In virtually EVERY industry in the nation, employees are paid based on their value in the marketplace for the numbers they increase, the skills they perfect, and the value they create for their employers. This is not the case in public education.

Today, in a policy adamantly defended by the unions, teachers are paid based largely on seniority. The structure is still back-loaded and designed for a teacher to stay in the classroom until retirement to collect a pension. In a climate where the average college graduate is expected to switch jobs at least three times before retirement, a pension thirty years from now is hardly an incentive to the modern professional.

While level of education and years of experience are important, the data shows us that it doesn't paint a clear picture of success. This lock-step method of paying teachers doesn't factor in the value they're adding to the system, it doesn't attract seasoned professionals from other fields, and it doesn't reward or incentivize teachers to become top performers in their classrooms.

Instead, according to a report put out by TNTP (a nonprofit formerly known as The New Teacher Project), U.S. school districts are perpetuating a pay scale system that shortchanges teachers' significant contributions.

According to their analysis, schools and districts should free up existing funds and pay teachers according to three core principles:

Raise early-career salaries, to compete with other professions for top talent. It's especially important to make sure that effective teachers can move quickly up the pay scale in the first five years on the job.

Offer raises for strong classroom performance, to encourage high performers to stay.

Create incentives for great teachers in high-need schools, to get the best possible teachers in the schools with the greatest challenges.

The fact is, teachers in a modern workforce do not necessarily need a one-size-fits-all salary and benefits packages that does little to recognize teachers who go above and beyond in their schools. According to our AAE Membership Surveys, teachers are supportive of innovative pay structures that reward teachers for their individual contributions and skills sets.

AAE polling suggests that our membership supports policies in which teachers can earn more for added responsibilities in the classroom, whether it be through coaching, leadership roles, or staying after school to tutor. Further survey results show that teachers of high-need subject areas and in high-need schools should be given even more.

We recognize that a comprehensive evaluation system is coming in many states. It's our job to make sure that teachers have a seat at the table in working toward an effective and just policy.

Do you support innovative pay structures?
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