Weird: Good Teachers Want Pay Flexibility; Not-so-Good Ones Want Rigid Pay

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Check out this unsigned editorial in the Wall Street Journal about an amazing innovation in Wisconsin education: letting school districts pay teachers based on their value to the schools!

As Stanford University economic researcher Barbara Biasi explains in a new study (which is awaiting peer review), Act 10 created a marketplace for teachers in which public-school districts can compete for better employees. For instance, a district can pay more to recruit and retain “high-value added” teachers—that is, those who most improve student learning. Districts can also cap salaries of low-performing teachers, which might encourage them to quit or leave for other districts. …

She also found changes in salary structure. For instance, salaries in Green Bay increased about 13% for teachers with five to six years of experience but a mere 4% for those who had worked 29 or 30 years. Salaries among teachers with the same seniority also diverged more. In Racine the opposite occurred. Green Bay was able to pay better teachers more without regard to the lock-step pay scales traditionally dictated by unions.

Well, you don’t need a degree from Rhode Island College to reason out why this would be so: “better teachers gravitate to districts where they can negotiate their own pay while lousy teachers tend to migrate toward those where salary scales are regimented.”

I’d add that it’s not just teacher quality.  Some teaching roles are easier than others, taking less learning and less work, depending on grade level or subject.  Sometimes unique challenges will be entirely specific to a school.

Only a system run primarily for the benefit of labor unions would organize something as critical as educating children in such a ridiculous way.



  • Merle The Monster

    Act 10 in Wisconsin had more to do about the State’s budget than anything else other than union busting. Putting pressure on senior (more expensive) workers and pushing them towards early retirement or the unemployment lines with wealthier districts attracting young inexperienced teachers to work extra hours and accept the now robust management clout without union representation. Poorer districts lose out when the “talented educators” (those willing to do whatever management wants) job hunt and accept bonuses. This has nothing to do with student performance but alot about trimming budgets. Studies in Wisconsin and student test scores do not show much improvement in performance since the act was implemented in 2011

  • Merle The Monster

    Why put links to pay sites like the Wall Street Journal if you want your readers to be informed.

    • Mike678

      This comment tells us you have a closed mind. Try broadening your horizons ad read/evaluate both sides of an argument. Perhaps then your comments may be worth reading.

      • Merle The Monster

        Hi Mike. Maybe you can give us something other than insult with your huge open mind. I have looked at the comments on this site for weeks now and have noticed the paucity of responses, so why would you not try to engage in debate if you do indeed wish to influence opinion with Merle The Monster

        • Mike678

          It wasn’t an insult–it was an observation and recommendation for improvement.
          Here is another. If you want to argue/debate, try showing us where the author is wrong with logic, facts/sources. Conclusions alone aren’t worth much. Your baseball comments below are also worthless and irrelevant. Does a lack of comments mean the author is wrong? Of course not–so your arguments below display poor reasoning and make you appear small and petty. Up your game.

  • Merle The Monster

    If Justin Katz was playing baseball and the number of comments on his numerous posts were his base hits he’d be hitting at a number that wouldn’t equal his weight even if we are being generous given the fact that he does no real heavy lifting anymore. So he should be thankful that Merle The Monster is here adding points to his average

    • Merle The Monster

      From what I have read here I think Justin may not understand batting averages. So maybe Mike can fill him in on sup .200 batting averages

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