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Changes to Teacher Pay On The Way
There is a new state board of education policy dealing with teacher pay that was passed in June at the request of Tennessee Education Commissioner, Kevin Huffman. This new policy requires local school districts to create a new “differentiated” system for paying teachers and implement it beginning with the 2014-15 school year. In effect the new system will be at least in part a merit-based system. Step-raises as we know them will disappear forever.
The Tennessee department of education has issued directives and guidelines which local districts must follow when creating the new pay plan.
Here are some highlights:
- High need schools and high need fields may receive priority, rewarding effective teachers who are willing to teach in high need schools (This means hiring bonuses or stipends for teaching in a so-called hard to fill subject area or school)
- Any performance component shall not include numeric or percentage limits on the number of teachers who can receive an award (This means all teachers must be eligible to receive any merit pay for performance. I.E. The plan cannot reward the highest 10% of teachers)
- Any performance compensation component of a differentiated pay plan shall be based on effectiveness as recognized by Board-approved teacher and principal evaluation criteria. (Dr. Looney has stated he will not pay for test scores, but the state requires the plan be based on the evaluation system, which uses test scores for up to 50% of the final evaluation score). Food for thought – 47% of Brentwood HS teachers have a score of 1 for the 35% of their evaluation that is based on student growth!
- Any performance component shall be criterion-based so that everyone meeting a previously agreed-upon standard earns the additional compensation
- An across-the-board pay increase based solely on years of experience or educational attainment or one that provides additional compensation for additional work shall not meet the requirements of the differentiated pay plan.
2 IMPORTANT POINTS TO KEEP IN MIND
1. The state is requiring performance pay, but not sending any funding for it. From where will that money come?
2. Tennessee Education Commissioner, Kevin Huffman, has stated that nothing in the new pay policy prohibits local school districts from continuing to pay yearly step increases.
3. Dr. Looney has repeatedly stated that he will not pay for test scores.
The WCS differentiated pay plan must be submitted to the state department of education in early 2014 for approval. WCEA is monitoring the process - stay tuned.