Pay for Performance?

6 Sep

Recently I, unlike any other news source in the county, wrote about the performance of Jefferson County high schools in the state MAP assessment. This week, the Leader took a look at teacher pay in the county. While their numbers are district-wide, vs. just for high schools, some comparisons can be made. Here is a table that shows MAP score  (the sum of the percentages that passed English and Math at each high school), beginning teacher pay, and salary for a teacher in his/her 10th year with a master’s degree (M+10 pay), along with the county ranking for both pay levels:

Note that, overall, there is a pretty good correlation here, which could bolster the arguments of those who say you have to pay teachers more to get better results. Others may argue that communities that have higher incomes (that pay more in taxes and thus give schools bigger budgets) also produce kids with more academic ability. We see Fox schools scoring highest and offering most beginning teacher pay, while Sunrise and Grandview have the worst scores, and have the lowest teacher pay (as with my earlier analysis, Sunrise is a bit of a different situation, because that district only has an elementary school).

The main outliers here are Jefferson, which came in 3rd for test scores, but is at 7th in beginning pay, and Windsor, which is 3rd in pay but 7th in test scores. This suggests Jefferson gets good bang for their buck, but Windsor does not.

There are arguments about whether it is more important to pay beginning teachers relatively more, while paying veteran teachers relatively less, or if teachers should start low and have better pay increases. The former situation would be better for recruiting new teachers, while the latter is better for teachers who stick with it, and, as it is based on seniority, is something unions push for. Note that Northwest, whose teachers start ranked 9th in pay, rise to 1st place in the M+10 list (they drop to 3rd in top pay, which is not shown here).

This analysis helps add a bit of context to the Leader’s story on teacher pay. Knowing what your local teachers earn is one, thing, but it is also important to consider what you are getting for those dollars.

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