Friday, September 24, 2010

Colorado Education Reform through Jeffco's Eyes

The war for education reform continues to rage in Colorado, even following the state's possibly
controversial Race to the Top loss. The most recent advances focus on district-specific implementations of teacher merit pay, a move that excites many and frustrates others.

This week, Jefferson County School District unveiled a plan to use their newly acquired federal grant money, $32.8 million when all is said and done, to introduce a tiered pay scale for teachers. Those teachers with more experience and those who score higher on evaluations would see a higher salary and more performance-based incentives.

The Jeffco tiered teacher pay system will resemble the following:
Tier 1 – Probationary teachers or those with up to three years of experience, would earn base pay of $40,000 and up to $10,000 in stipends for effective evaluations and meeting student growth goals.
Tier 2 – Non-probationary teachers would earn base pay of $55,000 and up to $20,000 in stipends.
Tier 3 – Mentor and master teachers, with eligibility criteria to be determined, would earn base pay of $80,000 and up to $20,000 more in stipends and for working a longer school year.
The move for higher teacher pay will provide needed compensation for those teachers who put in the extra time to ensure student success. Some of the best teachers in the district could pull in a well deserved salary of $100,000 per year. Jeffco middle school teacher Lisa Suomi tells 9News,
"Since we are already doing a lot of this, so why not be compensated for the work that we are already doing," said Suomi. "I am very excited about the collaborative approach to setting group goals and working together."
Though merit pay may not be a "magic bullet" for reform, Jeffco's new pay scale is certainly a step towards a more qualified educator pool in Colorado.

"Jeffco launches teacher performance pay" - Education News Colorado

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