Metro Schools begins work on differentiated pay plan

Friday, November 9, 2007 at 2:42am

Metro Nashville Public Schools likely will begin, in the next few days, work on a teacher compensation plan that could potentially authorize more pay for teachers in certain Metro schools and subject areas.

Development of the plan, called a “differentiated teacher pay plan,” is being mandated by a new state law, and targets high-poverty or high-minority schools, and teachers endorsed in hard-to-fill subject areas. Teachers from such schools are more likely to have less education and less experience than other schools in the public school district, according to a study from the Tennessee Department of Education.

Differentiated teacher pay plans can take several forms, according to June Keel, assistant superintendent of human resources at Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Options for the district include the possibility of extra money for teachers working in high-poverty or high-minority schools, or for teachers endorsed to instruct in hard-to-fill subject areas including math, science and special education.

The plans can also include performance pay, which means teachers can be paid more if their students score well on certain standardized tests.

“It’s wide open,” Keel said Thursday.

Plans must be approved by both the district and by the local teachers’ union, the Metro Nashville Education Association (MNEA), before being presented to the state.

“We have not started our negotiations with MNEA yet, so I can’t predict right now what format our differentiated pay plan would take,” Keel said.

Work on Metro’s plan is likely to begin in the next few days, Keel said. She said a preliminary plan ideally would be created by a sidebar committee — one that is separate from the negotiation process but includes representatives of both the district and MNEA.

The district hopes to have a plan ready for consideration in time for the district’s budget process, which will begin in December or January.

The completed plan must be submitted to the state Department of Education by this spring, in time for implementation in the 2008-2009 school year.

Keel said she wants an initial target for the plan to be Metro schools that are currently considered in corrective action by federal No Child Left Behind laws. Schools in corrective action are Dalewood Middle, Cameron Middle, H.G. Hill Middle, Murrell K-8, Murrell High, Hunters Lane High, McGavock High and Brick Church Middle.

The state Department of Education has asked that officials in the state’s six metropolitan school districts pay special attention to improving parity of teacher experience and education levels in schools with high-poverty or high-minority student populations, Keel said.

Similar problems exist at other districts throughout the state — disparities among Nashville public schools are actually less severe, on the whole, than those for Shelby and Hamilton County schools, according to state data.

Filed under: City News
By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

As usual the solution to everything is throw money at it.Get a clue its not going to work.

By: skeptic1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Giving some teachers hazard pay for working in problem schools can help, but so can more metal detectors and drug sniffing dogs. Nothing at school will really work if the parents won't help their children to realize the importance of a good education and support them.

By: TC37212 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Don't give extra pay for working in difficult schools- use the money to make them less difficult. That benefits everyone. The bonus is a patch, not a solution.

By: edu6sb on 12/31/69 at 6:00

What happened to everyone being supportive instead of just being judgmental and critical. Why is it that we just can't look at what we all can do to help our teachers and not try to tear down folks? They have a hard job and are paid way below what they should be getting for all that they do each and every day.

By: revo-lou on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Why would anybody pitch one about “performance pay”, or any other incentive, to get the best teachers we can get? If every teacher is paid the same, no matter where they work, what they teach, how long they have taught, or how well they teach, why would they care? There are very few jobs in the private sector that don’t reward harder, better work, why should teachers be any different? I think it is a great plan and hope it is spread though out Metro.

By: dukedvk1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

We have to stop treating the symptoms, and cure the disease. I agree that any lasting change is going to start at home, but that is not something easily created. "Hazard paying" teachers is not going to be a long-term fix. A marginal pay difference will only create a short-term incentive for teachers to join a "troubled" school. By the end of one year, the incentive is not worth the trouble, and teachers will leave the school (or the profession to avoid a pay cut) and augment the issue through increased turnover. Metal detectors and drug sniffing dogs are another effort to treat the symptom, and students will find other ways to create havoc. A performance incentive for the teachers is the best way to improve the recruiting and retention of qualified teachers in the schools. At that point, strict controls are needed to make sure teachers don't "work the system."

By: Cowboy84 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

A few hundred dollars a year are not enough to make teachers stay at problem schools. If that was true then teachers would not be leaving Metro to work in the surrounding counties for less money.

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I suggested this just yesterday (v. the discussion under the article about the shooting)! I’ve never seen anyone take one of my suggestions so quickly!No one says that the pay is only “a few hundred dollars”, Cowboy. I agree that it needs to be relatively substantial. I don’t know whether enough Nashvillians are sufficiently fore-thinking to make the compensation substantial.The notion of “performance pay” is a slippery & risky slope, unless it’s done exactly right. It’s a much worse notion that simply rewarding experienced teachers to work in disadvantaged schools. The next improvement to make in these schools is to cut the student/teacher ratio in half. That, plus some compensation, would be a great incentive to experienced teachers.Talk to you this evening. Wish me luck that my plane eventually arrives.

By: revo-lou on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Yeah, we are wishing, but I doubt you want to know what that wish is!

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Hey folks are you forgetting who put the system in the basement? THEY DID.What Brede$en should be doing is createing more teaching slots in the State schools for the shortage we have which promises to get worse especially with him draining off teachers for his pre K program. Who wouldn't want that gig?He controls the schools and has the ability to help solve the problem before it gets to critical mass so why won't he? You better start think for yourselves instead of listening to the incompetants that are in charge.Read Sowells book and see how easy it is yet they don't get it.(The state of education in America)There is another book thats good too the dumbing down of our kids.simple,cheap quick solutions to the mess they created turning the schools into indoctranation camps.

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

The teachers union is actually doing a disservice to their profession if they oppose this idea. If you can't offer more money to teachers that agree to teach in problem schools, or that teach subjects like math and science, you continue to wallow in mediocrity.

By: WickedTribe on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Freaky. I went to church with that guy in grade school. I don't think he was close enough in age to me that we were ever in the same school at the same time (he's older), but I can't remember. I was best friends with his brother Shawn for a while, until our competitiveness at soccer drove us to become enemies.

By: Muzhik on 12/31/69 at 6:00

BigPapa, how do you teach math and science to people who don't even show up for study hall. If a student wants to quit school and go to work after the age of 16 let him go! What we have now in the High Schools are prisons holding many people who don't want to be there. If we clean out the prison we will have a school left with motivated students who are willing to work and study. You can force a horse to water but you can't make him drink. Graduation rate is the wrong measure until those troublesome teenagers who want to leave are allowed to.

By: WickedTribe on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I agree with Muzhik. Why try to force people to be there who don't want to be there? All they're going to do is disrupt class for the other students, not to mention bringing in a crime/danger element to the school. Let them rot on the streets if that's what they want to do.

By: USAF_Blue_Beret on 12/31/69 at 6:00

The real problem is that the schools ALLOW the unruly students to "run the asylum". How? Discipline and security programs are lax -- partly out of fear of lawsuits by parents (who, often, can't even read), and partly out of a bone-headed concept that we can coddle gang members into becoming nice people.Whites Creek High School, for example, is a combat zone. The City Paper reported on my case when it was "novel

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Any sixteen-year-olds who get their parents' permission can leave school.Parents need to support their public schools, trust the teachers, & unite w/ them so that students can't pit one group against the other.