Monday, September 11, 2006

Springfield teachers OK merit pay contract

This looks like a very worthwhile and well-thought-out experiment:

Under the new merit pay system, only the most experienced teachers would be eligible to apply for two elite positions: ``teacher leader" and the top-paying ``instructional leadership specialist." To apply, teachers must have at least a master's degree, seven years of teaching experience, and a 97 percent attendance rate at work, among other measures.


Their top pay will be more than $71,900 a year and carries additional duties, including the requirement that teachers accept difficult assignments in struggling schools and mentor less-experienced teachers.


In addition to higher pay, these teachers will be eligible for higher pay raises, up to 5 percent a year, compared with the 2.75 percent cost-of-living increase in the regular contract. About 30 percent of the merit raise will be linked to how much their students improve on standardized tests and other measures. Other factors, such as the teacher's attendance at school and their teaching abilities also will determi ne the size of the yearly raise, said Philip Puccia, executive director of the state finance control board.

This was buried in the article, but is critically important: "the superintendent would have the right to reassign any teacher, regardless of seniority."  You can't effectively manage ANY organization if you can't sensibly allocate your most important resource: people!


This plan is incredible tame by any private-sector standard -- further evidence of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party craziness that infects the way most public school teachers are evaluated and paid in this country. 


Springfield teachers OK merit pay contract

Wages could be tied directly to how well students perform

By Maria Sacchetti, Globe Staff  |  September 9, 2006


Springfield teachers yesterday overwhelmingly approved a contract that includes voluntary merit pay. The move means for the first time in a large Massachusetts school district, teachers' paychecks could be tied directly to how well their students perform.


About 86 percent of the teachers in Massachusetts' second-largest school system approved the contract, capping acrimonious negotiations that dragged on in the financially struggling city for more than a year. Springfield Education Association President Tim Collins said teachers agreed because merit pay was optional, and because they wanted a pay raise after working for four years without a contract.

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