Sunday, February 21, 2010

Teacher Compensation and Retention

Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA's) are the contractual agreements between teachers and their school districts. Without changes to these documents, then school reforms will remain framed by the agreements of the past.
Perhaps the stickiest issue is teacher compensation and job security, In nearly every CBA, teachers receive strong job security in return for low compensation as compared to other degreed professionals. For example: I've been teaching in California for 14 years, I have over 90 post BA graduate units, but no advanced degrees. I make low 60k a year in salary. This is lower than most starting salaries for degreed professions. Typically starting salaries in business is between 70-80k. BUT after two year, like many teachers around the country, I become a "permanent employee." This designation means that if my school wanted to fire me, the administration would have to follow a highly-regimented process that would likely take 1.5 to 2 years. My union would fight them all along the way. Most school districts do not want to take the time, the energy, and the political capital to fire a teacher whose only fault is mediocre or poor teaching. This is VASTLY different that being called into Trump’s office and having the boss point a finger at me and say, “You’re fired!”
After reading Bill Ferriter 's article called Performance Pay Will Kill Our Schools, I started thinking...
How much money would teachers need to make to take job-security out of future contracts?

Starting salaries of $70,000? Top salaries of $150,000
Starting salaries of $100,000? Top Salaries of $200,000

What would it take to make teacher compensation look more like professional compensation, meaning that teacher are earning similar dollars as other starting professionals fresh out of school with an MBA (in my mind an MBA=Teaching Credential)?

Would governments and boards of education be willing to pay this kind of compensation if it meant that they could get rid of the 10-15% of teaching professionals who are duds?

Would teachers be more focused on doing a good job if their performance review could lead to promotion or the loss of their job?

Is this conversation a third rail is for teachers' unions? Can unions discuss it among ourselves and clarify our thinking before we go public?

If teachers were being paid top dollar – would we then agree on an evaluation protocol that is robust and linked to student learning? I’m not talking test scores here – I’m talking about training school administrators to have use robust system of agreed-upon classroom learning targets:

· X% will achieve these learning targets as shown in these products
· 100-X=Y% will not achieve the learning targets and will have received this intervention protocol with this report listing agreed upon modified learning targets and products.
· Y% will achieve their modified learning target results as shown on the modified products.
· 100-Y=Z% will not achieve their modified learning targets and will have received this secondary intervention protocol with this second report listing newly agreed upon modified learning targets and products
· ETC…

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