Washington Post Calls for Serious Changes to Teacher Pay and Tenure

Real educator compensation reform has grown well beyond being a conservative or liberal issue. We continue to learn more and more about the costs and effects of unproductive pay systems. A couple weeks ago I brought your attention to a possible breakthrough New Teacher Project report called The Irreplaceables — showing how high-performing teachers not only are not better rewarded but also not better retained than their low-performing counterparts.

If we treat outstanding instruction so little different from, ahem, inadequate instruction, what do we expect is going to happen? Interestingly, considering the well-publicized findings of The Irreplaceables, the editorial board of the Washington Post yesterday had to acknowledge this important reality:

The study identifies some simple, low-cost strategies that could help boost teacher retention, such as giving positive feedback. Other reforms will be harder to accomplish. Paramount is doing away with lockstep compensation systems that prevent top teachers from being properly paid, particularly early in their careers, when they are most likely to move on; layoff policies that are blind to quality; and onerous dismissal rules that make it difficult to fire a tenured teacher for performance….

Thanks to Choice Media TV for bringing this important editorial to my attention. Since it’s Friday and I’m restless (not to mention young), just allow me a chance to remind you of the realities and the progress Colorado is making on these key issues.

While 2010’s Senate Bill 191 brought forth some progress in the area of teacher tenure and evaluations, and at least one new innovation school in Falcon took it even further, a recent story from Adams 12 points out that real reforms still need to be made.

When it comes to redesigning how teachers are paid, especially keep an eye on two districts. While the progressive Effectiveness and Results system in Harrison looks to make strides in the absence of its guiding force, now-ex-superintendent Mike Miles, the mantle for performance pay leadership may fall on Douglas County, as it strives forward without a union monopoly.

The big newspaper editors usually won’t see what is going on here in flyover Colorado. It’s nonetheless good to see the Washington Post sound the call for fundamental teacher policy changes backed up by the best research.