Section VIII—Compensation and Conclusion

Section VIII—Compensation and Conclusion

Teacher often are motivated into the profession because they want to nurture young people, to watch their students learn, grow, and thrive. Many see teaching as a calling. Because they believe that education can propel a child out of even the most hopeless of life circumstances, they teach to help all students—regardless of their zip code—to create bright futures full of possibility and promise. They enjoy responsibility for nurturing our nation's youth to become good citizens and independent, critical thinkers, and they appreciate having the autonomy to create plans and experiences for students to achieve these goals. Though there are myriad benefits of teaching that are not related to earning money, if we are to retain and attract our best teachers and principals, educators must both perform and be compensated as professionals.

Transforming education will require a professional compensation structure that supports highly effective teachers and principals and provides incentives for them to develop expertise and work with colleagues to progress in the profession. To be sure, compensation is only one incentive among many that keeps good educators on the job. Without good leadership, supportive school climate, authentic professional learning, opportunities to succeed and advance, and time to work and plan collaboratively, paying teachers and principals better alone will not transform the profession. However, our vision acknowledges that we cannot draw potential high performers into the profession or motivate them to stay unless we compensate them like other professionals who are highly valued by society.

In our vision, starting salaries for professional teachers who have completed their clinical residency and advanced beyond Novice status (generally 2-4 years after their apprenticeships) could be as high as $60,000-65,000, adjusted as appropriate to the different geographic locations' cost of living. Additionally, salaries would increase faster and maximum salaries would be higher so that master teachers and other teacher leaders would have the ability to earn as much as $120,000-150,000 after about 7-10 years, commensurate with principals' salaries. Whereas today's compensation tends to be linked solely to years of service or professional credentials, under this new vision, salary would reflect the quality of a teacher's work, his or her effectiveness helping students to grow academically, and the scope of the teacher's responsibility.

To attract the best teachers and principals to work with the students who need them most, salaries competitive with other careers might be paired with other incentives like bonuses, tuition subsidies, portable licenses, and loan forgiveness. These same inducements might be used to attract and retain teachers in high-demand subjects like STEM, English language instruction, and special education. In all cases, equal attention would be given to providing all teachers with effective principals and strong school cultures so that teachers and students can succeed. Also, it will be important to address the physical and technical needs of the schools in poverty, providing resources to help teachers to function well under more challenging conditions without spending their own money for basic supplies.

This is our vision for American education: that our students will graduate from high school as creative and critical thinkers who are well-prepared for college and careers and ready to participate as responsible and engaged citizens in our country and in the world. Certainly, our students have a part in the responsibility for their own growth and learning, and we adults have much progress to make in motivating them to make good choices. But our vision will only be realized when we as a nation take seriously our obligation to prepare all of our young people for the opportunities they will have and the challenges they will face and when we treat our principals and teachers as professionals. When we make a commitment to recruit, train, develop, support, and pay our educators well, and when these educators share responsibility for ensuring every student's learning, our children, our economy, and our country will reap the benefits for generations.


And when will we see legislation in support of this vision?

In the final class of my M.Ed. program, we have discussed the new movement with VAMs, or value-added measures. My understanding is that VAM holds teachers accountable for students' test scores. We talked about how some schools have adopted VAMs as the primary means of compensating teachers. In other words, effective teaching (which leads to higher test scores) results in raises in salary.

I disagree that any school system should place the majority of their attention on VAMs. What do you all think?

Finally recognize all K-12 teachers as the first responders that they are. They are just like firemen and police. However, they actually have a deeper impact than just the aforementioned responders in that they can shape a students life forever over their twelve years of contact as opposed to a brief encounter. Teachers need to have the salaries that encourage the best to apply and stay on despite the lack of career paths, weather the attacks from the press and the public, and be provided the overdue technology tools to help teach daily and collect data to inform their teaching, the teaching success upon which they will be evaluated. On a daily basis, teachers are mentioned from various quarters as not having done their job, when in fact, the current resources and staffing are stretched to a razor's edge.

Note this comment about the impact of these first responders on the LA Court system, "Judge Michael Nash, who presides over L.A. County's juvenile court system, and others had complained that the Informal Juvenile and Traffic Court had become a dumping ground for problems that schools, law enforcement officers and families should have handled. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times 6/16/12)."

Melissa V Rentchler, MLIS, M.Ed., California State Credentialed Teacher and Teacher Librarian in Long Beach Unified School District, California

I say, "bring it on"! Teachers are ready to handle the problems. As a matter of fact, we have been handling the problems. I am in full support of this project because it is time we get the RESPECT we deserve. People who don't work in schools have no idea the variety of issues teachers deal with daily. Often time students bring the world and all of its problems with them through the schools' doors. We definitely act as "first responders". As teachers we have to sift through these issues: poverty, violence, abuse, neglect, etc. in order to teach. Teachers have to act as psychologist, social workers, moral leaders, and guardians to their pupils.
It’s time that teachers get paid for the work they do. So many teachers leave the profession because they are unable to provide for their selves and families. Others leave stay and live below the poverty line. The way teachers are compensated is a reflective how much our nation values education. If education was valued—teachers would be getting paid more for the work they do.

As teachers we agree with the proposal, but quite a few questions come to mind:

1- Who will provide the funding for the schools to recruit, train, develop, and support?

2- How feasible is this plan? Will monies eventually "run out" over a period of time?

3- What are the criteria for "master teachers", "good" prinicpals, etc, which determines the increase in a person's salaries?

4- What is the suggested timeline that teachers can rely on to advance in their earnings?

5- What details can be provided about the comparison of teachers' salaries and those in other professions? Doctors do not receive salary increases based on the number of lives they save. Lawyers are not paid based on the number of cases they win. Surely we don't want just anyone to be a part of this valued profession, but lets not make earning a deserved salary unrealistic!!

We look forward to seeing how this plays out...

BCPS Teachers!

Please make sure you recognize and account for financial incentives for the credentialed teachers that also have direct contact with the students for technology/computer class, library, music, visual arts, physical education, speech and language, resource specialist. These specialists also support students to higher performance on the high stakes tests. Some of these specialists have the whole school or more than one school as their "class load".
Melissa Vee Rentchler, MLIS, MEd, CA Credentialed Teacher and Teacher Librarian

This is regarding budgeting:
The public school model is broken.
If I was told that my bank account would be forfeited if I didn't use all of my money in it every year, I wouldn't have any savings.
That is exactly what the schools are told.
This is not a sustainable model.
Schools would probably still have some funds left to cover the low tax revenue years from whence our budgets are created if we could treat our funds like we would our own personal funds and keep what we don't use as savings for the future.
Melissa V. Rentchler, MLIS, MEd., Teacher Librarian in Long Beach, CA

"To attract the best teachers and principals to work with the students who need them most, salaries competitive with other careers might be paired with other incentives like bonuses, tuition subsidies, portable licenses, and loan forgiveness."

I agree wholeheartedly with this statement, I find it to be rather idealistic, and bordering on " imaginary thinking" given our current system for funding education.

How does the Department of Education propose to fund such salaries, bonuses and tuition subsidies? Surely economic realities need to be considered. Is there a proposal on the table for more equitable funding for education across the nation that does not rely on property taxes? Until the citizens of this country truly believe that all children regardless of their zip code deserve a high qualiy education across the board and are willing to pay for it; emphasis onthe willingness to pay for it, this proposal will remain a pipe dream.

The Good Force be with you!

In conclusion, all these RESPECT projects are for the excellence of teaching profession and must be implemented as soon as possible.

Live forever and prosper!

Who is your audience for this proposal? Surely not Duncan, Bloomberg, Walker, Christie, Rhee, testing companies, or value added evaluators. In the 1960s, I actually participated in a structure similar to your model. It worked just fine, except a board of education refused to pay based upon such ladders. An English teacher with 7 class periods? Do you really believe that many legislators will even read your stuff, even though it is nicely written?

I'll believe it when I see it.

I hope the "master" veteran teachers are a true part of this new plan.

Master teacher. I have this idea but I do not believe my idea is the same as yours. My idea is that a Master Teacher teaches his/her "new" first and second year teacher colleagues to make them the best they can be as teachers. From discipline problems to classroom structure. They teach what works in the classroom. They also have to be very highly educated, and have a very successful career in teaching.

As a 5th year CTE teacher, I can empathize with reality that academic teachers must face each and everyday as they work to instill in youngsters a passion for life-long learning. As a late-in-life career changer I came to teaching after many years in the public and private sectors. Having been a worker and a manager it seems clear to me at least, that what is missing in our public education system is consistent and enduring rules of engagement.

For instance, in my school, the grading policy is such that a student who does well in the early part of the school year and tapers off (or fails to attend at all) towards the end of the school year is passed. I do not know if this policy exists at the elementary or middle school level, but if some of my students lack of elementary arithmetic is any indication I would have to say that they are being passed through the system virtually unarmed and unprepared for the rigors to come in high school, college and eventually, the work world.

If there was a way to assure that students in the lower and middle levels of school had to prove that they had the ability to function at the next level of difficulty it might go a long way in stabilizing the infrastructure and allow teachers to present more rigor in the classroom. With the knowledge that every student in the classroom has similar math, English and reasoning skills for their respective educational level a teacher has more freedom in developing a challenging and engaging curriculum.

It will not be easy but teachers need a level playing field and not just higher compensation. A Principal's primary role must be providing a consistent work environment of support for teachers (especially those wishing to improve academic rigor) while at the same time assuring that only teachers who have shown a true passion for the field are recognized, advanced and held up to the community as prototypes of excellence.