Writing for Brown Center Chalkboard, Michael Hansen recently reviewed ways to reform teacher compensation without imposing a minimum annual salary across the board. Excerpts of the piece appear below:
Teacher compensation reform has reemerged as an urgent policy topic, with bills introduced in both chambers of Congress to incentivize states to pay teachers a $60,000 minimum annual salary. This is in addition to calls for action from nearly a dozen state governors to meaningfully increase teacher pay during recent state of the state addresses. Not since the wave of teacher strikes during the spring of 2018 has there been such widespread, focused attention on teacher pay.
Below are four research-based recommendations to both pay teachers more and promote a robust supply of quality teachers to all students, regardless of the setting they find themselves in.
- Pay teachers more for teaching in high-need schools and subjects.
- Pay teachers more for high-quality teaching, especially when they take on extra responsibilities.
- Pay all teachers at the master’s degree rate, without making them get one.
- Do more to supplement the pay of preschool teachers, not just K-12 teachers.
The current policy focus on teacher compensation presents a rare opportunity to do something big in education that—if done right—could meaningfully benefit both teachers and the students they serve. Let’s not squander this opportunity.