Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Denver update: Performance-based teacher pay approved

Supporters say move is necessary to attract good teachers

Denver voters have approved an annual $25 million tax increase to link teacher salaries to test scores and other measurements. As a result, Denver becomes the largest school district in the country to switch to paying teachers based on their students' achievement. Details from CNN.

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Trucker Bob said...

As someone with 6 grand-children in school that just went through a teacher's strike here, I'm pleased to see this issue warranted mention by you.

Common ground between us? If nothing else a start to what I believe will be a mutual "friendship". Scary huh? ;-)

DCS said...

Bob, since you have six grandchildren, you must have some great "Grandpa" stories to tell. Feel free to share stories with all of your friends here, if you are ever so inclined. :-)

James Manning said...

I can understand why people would want to tie teacher's salaries to performance. The problem is that a child's performance is based on a lot of factors that are outside of the control of the teacher. Text books, parental involvement, emotional issues, learning abilities, administrative support.

So, if a child's parents isn't involved and the teacher does not have the proper tools and the classroom is overcrowded - and a child fails a test, how is it that the teacher is the only one responsible?

DCS said...

James, you are absolutely right when you say a child's performaance is impacted by several factors. As a parent and as someone who has worked as an advocate for public schools, I believe it is important to hold parents and teachers accountable.

In the "real" world, how much you earn, is dependent, in part, on how well you produce. With teaching being one of the most important professionals there is, I don't see why we shouldn't reward teachers who produce and weed out the ones who don't.

My kids have had great teachers. Unfortunately, we have also had some teachers who clearly didn't care anything about the kids, and their teaching reflected that.

There are those of us who are fighting hard to close the achievement gap. Also, remember that No Child Left Behind (a dirty little phrase in the education community, I know) is a federal law that calls for highly qualified teachers in every classroom. It also supports social and economic equity. In addition, it is the first time federal law has stressed the importance of parent engagement and parent involvement.

By the way, I am well aware that NCLB is underfunded. That's another topic for another day!

DCS said...


Bear with me for a moment while I say something else that I think is really important.

In my humble opinion, students achieve at their best when school, home and community work together. Also, I believe that:

1. in general, teachers are grossly underpaid

2. many parents still need to learn that they are their children's first teachers