[Homestead] Education, better pay for teachers in Minnesota
tvoivozd at infionline.net
Thu Sep 23 18:12:18 EDT 2004
For measured better results, and factored-in bad conditions, not just
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Paying for better teachers
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is contin uing his efforts to bring sanity
to his state's teacher pay practices - and he now has a former Cleveland
educator as an ally.
Pawlenty sought last year to pay top-tier teachers $100,000 a year and
award bonuses to those whose students made major test score gains, but
was thwarted by the legislature. This time, he's launching a pilot
program involving a small southeastern school district and three
Minneapolis schools. Thandiwe Peebles, a former regional superintendent
in Cleveland, now leads the Minneapolis public schools and appeared at
Pawlenty's press conference.
The state is spending more than $5 million to pilot the Teacher
Advancement Program, a model that combines intensive teacher training
and mentoring with performance-based pay. Developed and run through the
Milken Family Foundation, TAP now operates in eight states and more than
five-dozen schools across the country. Although TAP is fairly new, early
research has indicated significant reading and math gains in its
schools, as compared to scores from control schools. So far, no Ohio
district has adopted the model, although the president of the Cincinnati
teachers union has expressed interest in exploring it.
Traditional compensation systems give teachers more money for their
years of service and advanced degrees, but provide no rewards for
teachers who make measurable differences in the amount students learn.
Nor do they provide incentives for teachers who work in particularly
difficult schools or in hard-to-staff specialties. In short, a teacher
who does no more than sit in front of the class and read a newspaper all
day gets the same pay as one who labors tirelessly to develop creative
lessons, improve teaching style and assist peers in doing the same.
Pawlenty recognizes that this approach makes no sense, and actually
drives away some of the profession's most talented instructors. He
deserves credit for keeping his focus on excellence in teaching despite
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