Andy Spears: What Happens When School Systems Invest in Teacher Compensation?
Andy Spears notes that Tennessee upped its pay for corrections officers and state police and immediately experienced an increase in applicants. What, he wondered, would happen if Tennessee increased its teacher pay?
Now, though, there’s also an example of what might happen. A school district in Oregon moved starting pay in the district from $38,000 a year to $60,000 a year. In the process, all teachers received at least a 15% raise.
The move was approved by 100% of union members voting.
The old pay scale went from $38,000 to $72,000. The new, compressed scale, ranges from starting pay of $60,000 to maximum pay of $86,000.
Education Week interviewed the Superintendent about the results:
In fact, teachers across the schedule were excited to see the shift. They relayed that they felt it set them up for a new set of professional teaching peers, more retention for their current peers, and was something that would have changed their own lives had it come in their early career.
Turns out, paying teachers a professional wage attracts people to the profession:
In recent years, we generally would be lucky to have a single applicant for a position, fully qualified or otherwise. After announcing the salary schedule change, we had pools of qualified applicants to consider. It was a fun spring. Our administrators were having to have these rich conversations about best fit, really digging into things like, ‘Here’s a full table of highly qualified people; who is going to best fulfill the needs of our school? It’s a conversation that most districts don’t get to have right now.