Alternative compensation for Oregon’s teachers: To boldly go where no one has gone before | Chalkboard Project

Alternative compensation for Oregon’s teachers: To boldly go where no one has gone before

Monday, September 14, 2015 Julie Smith

Over the summer, we have shared innovative models of teacher compensation and examples where states and school districts have made that a reality.

We believe Oregon’s teachers and administrators are ready to explore the new frontier of alternative compensation. Just last month, the Teachers Standards and Practice Commission (TSPC) adopted a temporary rule suspending the requirement for teachers to earn additional college credits to renew their teaching license. Continuing professional development units (25 units/year) are now the only requirement to renew one’s teaching license, allowing districts and teachers to better advocate for improved salary schedules and reforms.

Research has shown teacher effectiveness is the most important in-school factor for increasing student achievement—not advanced degrees or years of experience. In fact, most specialized careers allow licensed professionals to renew their initial license through continued professional development, not through college credits.

Both Baltimore, Maryland, and Portland, Maine, public schools have embraced the progressive practice of affording teachers opportunities for improving skills in order to meet their profession’s changing demands, and create compensations that reinforce successful growth.

“In the 1990s, changes in education have led to increased skill requirements for teachers. Public demands for high standards and accountability, demands for employee involvement to facilitate improved organizational performance, and an increasingly diverse student population require teachers to develop and maintain high levels of professional instructional skills, as well as management and leadership roles within schools. Provide incentives for long term career development of employees, linked to the knowledge and skills needed for today’s schools.” (CPRE, History of Teacher Pay)

Teachers need greater control over their advancement and professional growth opportunities. We believe Oregon should reward effective teachers who are making a difference—not compel them to pay for their own pay raise by taking college credits. Many districts are currently supporting teachers with job-embedded professional learning experiences, enabling peer-to-peer professional development. Teachers in these districts are working in collaborative teams, designing new curriculum, participating in collaborative learning teams, and other innovations.

It is time for these effective practices to be replicated in Oregon schools as an integral part of new teacher compensation models. The question is, who will lead this effort? Who will move these ideas from isolated practice into Oregon’s new reality?

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