Thursday, March 03, 2011

Question of the Day: 21st Century Compensation

Today's question of the day:

What should compensation models look like in schools of the 21st century? What kinds of compensation should 21st century schools use to attract and retain teachers?

Comment away... we want to hear your ideas.


  1. I really don't have a good solution to this dilemma (who does?). I would like to see teachers compensated not only for the years of service and degree level they have attained, but also for the direct effectiveness on student learning that they have demonstrated in their classroom.

    What doesn't work: merit pay (read "Drive" by Daniel Pink)

    What also doesn't work: treating human beings (student) as assembly-line products with a 1500-point inspection list (a.k.a. standardized testing)and holding the manufacturers (teachers) accountable for the quality of their "product."

  2. I think a model that allows students/parents to choose their teachers and teachers get paid by the demand for their class/how many students they can reach. This would reward the effective teacher and also encourage teachers to find ways to reach as many students as possible.

    I actually don't think they should be rewarded on their degree level or years of service because those are not accurate reflections of the quality of their teaching. They should be able to communicate their curriculum and learning objectives effectively and be rewarded for their level of achievement in their respective field.

    Students and Parents are the best evaluators of who is a good teacher for themselves.

  3. While compensation is important, I'm really more interested in working with like-minded talented people and being given the freedom to actually teach. Compensation comes after this.

  4. I'd hire Cameron and pay him well.

  5. I wish to be compensated by having the saying "Those that can do; those that can't, teach" struck from our culture. Banished like Milli Vanilli was in the early 90's. I wish to be respected like teachers in Finland and Thailand are. That would be compensation.

    I wish to be compensated by opening the floodgates of bandwidth in my school (my district does it better than most). I would like more money being put into technology at the elementary level, and to train elementary teachers to use more technology, such as screencasting lessons and creating classroom websites. I would like more computers in elementary classrooms. That would be good compensation.

    I would like to be selected to attend workshops and talks by people like Sir Ken Robinson. I would like to be a part of our District's Staff Development so I can make a bigger difference in my district. I believe in my district and that we are more progressive than most. But, I think this would be a good way to compensate and retain teachers in our district, now and in the future.

  6. Once we dangle the carrot, the direction is determined by the holder of the carrot. What I am basically saying, isn't compensation just another step away from creative student centered learning? Awarding good educators has to be more than the "money".

  7. I would love to see a system where teachers receive an initial stipend but over time their pay can increase based on a very small tax on their students future earnings. This would encourage teachers to teach 21st century skills and help their students achieve their maximum potential. It would also encourage good teachers to stay in the profession for as long as possible.

    Lest you scoff at a tax, think of the money saved by not providing ineffective teachers a raise just because they have been there for another year.

    I also want to agree with what James said above that a cultural makeover which respected education and teachers would also be appreciated. I realize that there are many who have ruined that title for us but they should be shown the door.

    Good conversation starter Shelly. I hope people realize that an overhaul is in order but also will save our country billions in the long run as it is one of our Nation's biggest expenditures.

  8. #1 Ask the kids to rate their teachers. In any school they know better than anyone who the good teachers are. I realise its not that simple but certainly it should contribute to the mix.

    #2 Link pay to performance, effort (e.g. how much they do around they school) and if they reach their goals for a given year. This needs to be personalised and managed by their managers.

    Most of all, get rid of the pay=years in service model. It does not work.

  9. Drive by Daniel Pink says it all to me. Pay enough so that we can live and not worry about second and third jobs, and then show respect, honor creativity, and let us teach!

  10. I think that models that reward teachers based on test scores are not usable for many of the non-tested areas that are taught. I am a Visual Art and Technical Education teacher. We are not on "the test" yet I am teaching many of the lifelong 21st century skills that my students need to survive. I am fostering their literacy skills and helping them develop knowledge of college and careers beyond high school.

    Administrators don't have a good feel for what it is that non-core teachers teach. I have sat through so many inservices and staff meetings that discuss ACT scores and literacy and how we can address these. Yet no connection is ever made to music, art, tech ed, etc. So having administrators decide based on test scores isn't the model I want.

    I think a teacher's willingness to continue their own education should be part of the plan as should extras that teachers do for their colleagues. I think non-academic teachers should be considered for higher compensation if they exhibit their students' work beyond the school (community exhibits such as State Fairs, scholastic Arts etc). I think how many students your department sends onto the college in the field you teach and how many receive scholarships should also be part of the compensation model for non-core teachers. These to me are indicators of success for my program and my students. I work really hard to help students prepare for college through portfolio development, letters of recommendation etc.

    I actually think the current model of union-based seniority and compensation-based on education advancement is a good model overall. Some seniority teachers are poor and are coasting, but if districts asked more of their advanced degreed teachers in terms of peer training and sharing I think this could force teachers to better their skills. I think it is dangerous to let administrators and parent/student popularity decide as this can be very biased and non-objective.

  11. I'd like time as compensation. Time to learn, time to attend conferences, time to collaborate with other teachers. We don't get enough of this, teachers would like this form of compensation.


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