29 September 2010

City schools, teachers union to end practice of linking pay to years of employment

Image courtesy of madmaven via Stock.XCHNG
From the Baltimore Sun:
The Baltimore school district and its teachers union have struck a landmark agreement that would end the longtime practice of linking pay to years of employment and place the city at the forefront of a national reform effort, according to sources familiar with the pact.

The two sides have discussed a pay system that would reward skills and effectiveness and are expected to announce the details of the agreement Wednesday.

Experts in teacher compensation said Baltimore was poised to become one of only a handful of places in the country, including Washington, D.C., New Haven, Conn., and Pittsburgh, that have moved toward paying teachers for performance as a way to improve the quality of education in their schools. The Obama administration has been pressing for such changes.
Read the rest of the article here.

Shifting teacher pay from being longevity-based to performance-based is not a panacea that will save the schools, and it is certainly not as radical as some of the great things NJ Governor Chris Christie is trying to do statewide in New Jersey, but it is at least a step in the right direction. Frankly, it is remarkable that the teachers unions (in this case, the American Federation of Teachers) are even considering something like this. You have to think that President Obama's Race to the Top initiative is at least partially responsible for bringing the union to the table here.
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