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ERIC Number: ED537150
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 60
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 118
Teacher Pay Reforms: The Political Implications of Recent Research. CEDR Working Paper No. 2010-4.0
Goldhaber, Dan
Center for Education Data & Research
Education research convincingly shows that teacher quality is the most important "schooling" factor influencing student achievement. A very good teacher as opposed to a very bad one can make as much as a "full year's" difference in learning growth for students. Indeed, the effect of increases in teacher quality swamps the impact of any other educational investment, such as reductions in class size. These findings (documented in this paper) suggest that improving the quality of the teacher workforce presents educational policymakers with a tremendous opportunity to dramatically improve the educational achievement of America's students. Unfortunately for policymakers, increasing teacher quality is no simple task: There does not appear to be any specific credential or characteristic that is a silver-bullet predictor of quality. Here, the author suggests that policymakers may wish to address teacher performance through a focus on "teacher workforce" policies--that is, policies that are based on a teacher's actual demonstrated classroom performance. Compensation is a key workforce policy that holds promise for reform. But there are significant obstacles facing policymakers who wish to use compensation as a tool for influencing the quality of the teacher workforce. Many aspects of teaching make it less amenable to salary differentiation, particularly in the form of merit pay, than other private sector occupations. In addition, major hurdles to implementing pay reforms remain, including significant union opposition, the dynamic of local school district politics, and the institutional inertia of public school systems. Despite these obstacles, teacher pay reform appears to be high on the policy agenda. Based on this review about teacher pay and reform, this paper will argue that pay reform holds promise, and then offer recommendations for those who wish to see teacher pay reforms successfully implemented. (Contains 2 figures and 68 endnotes.)
Center for Education Data & Research. 3876 Bridge Way North Suite 201, Seattle, WA 98103. Tel: 206-547-5585; Fax: 206-547-1641; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for Education Data & Research (CEDR)