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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

More pay for teachers in low-performing schools?



Should teachers who work in low-performing schools get paid more? Most teachers polled by Education Sector said yes.

But school districts in Florida haven't made much effort to create differential pay programs, writes Ron Matus, editor of redefinED and a former education reporter for the Times. Teachers have gotten extra money for advanced degrees. They get paid for unused sick leave. Why not give them a pay bump for working in challenging environments?

(As an interesting side note, a new study seems to suggest that merit pay for teachers does work. There's been little evidence supporting it in the past. And then, of course, there's this counterview. But this gets away from the point.)

Matus writes:

"It’s undeniable that teacher equity and teacher turnover are big problems in high-poverty schools. It’s indisputable that a far greater proportion of rookie teachers get their start there, that far fewer national board certified teachers can be found there, that too many duds are passed around there. There’s no doubt the consequences are devastating, given that teachers are the biggest in-school factor in student success.

Yet, the problem persists. I hate to say it, but I don’t see school boards, teachers unions, established parent groups or the media moving with urgency to take real steps to deal with it. I don’t want to sound like just another wound-up blogger (L), but I have to admit I’m frustrated that newspapers rarely write about these issues, and that attempts to mitigate them are often met with charges of “teacher bashing.” I do get a tad annoyed when folks with power either ignore these problems, or worse, try to deflect responsibility to “bad parents” and/or poor funding.

I know it’s complicated – like just about everything in public education – but I don’t buy that it’s insurmountable.  If cash could be carved out as an incentive to lure and keep top-notch teachers in marquee magnet programs, why couldn’t the same be done for high-needs schools?"

See the whole blog post here.

What do you think? Should teachers get extra pay for working in challenging schools? If they did, would that have any effect on student achievement?

[Last modified: Monday, July 23, 2012 3:46pm]


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