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ERIC Number: ED521227
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Restructuring Teacher Pay to Reward Excellence
National Council on Teacher Quality
When negotiating new teacher contracts, most districts, no doubt, are focusing discussions on averting wage freezes and massive layoffs. But prudent districts--those looking for long-term solutions to budget problems as well as those seeking to more fairly compensate the most effective teachers--are reconsidering the 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 both experience 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. Most significantly, the salary schedule, as currently defined, does not consider teacher effectiveness, making it inherently unfair to talented teachers. It has also led to "wage compression," meaning that teachers with the most aptitude earn no more than teachers with the lowest aptitude, rendering teaching an unattractive career choice for talented college graduates. This paper argues for wholesale innovations in teacher compensation. This paper makes the case that truly effective teacher pay reform is best achieved by aligning compensation with a district's primary needs: improving student achievement and placing the best teachers where they are needed most. To study this issue in detail, this paper drew upon the National Council on Teacher Quality's TR[3] database, which contains teacher contracts, school board policies and state laws governing the teaching profession in over 100 large school districts. This paper also presents additional data sampled from 13 large public school districts. (Contains 10 figures and 10 footnotes.)
National Council on Teacher Quality. 1420 New York Avenue NW Suite 800, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-393-0020; Fax: 202-393-0095; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Council on Teacher Quality