Think tank urges states to think ‘strategically’ about teacher pay

In Idaho, and most states, school districts have wide discretion in setting teacher salaries and negotiating with local teachers’ unions.

But a Washington, D.C.-based think tank is urging states to take a more hands-on approach.

“Particularly in a resource-constrained environment, all states should be thinking strategically about their compensation policies,” said Elizabeth Ross, managing director of state policy for the National Council on Teacher Quality.  “Doing so will help ensure that teachers are meaningfully compensated for exemplary classroom performance and relevant, prior, non-teaching work experience. Strategic compensation also helps enable all students – especially those in historically hard-to-staff schools and subjects – to have access to great teachers.”

On Tuesday, the NCTQ released a four-page “databurst” comparing state teacher salary models. Here’s what the group had to say about the nation, and Idaho:

  • Only nine states require districts to consider performance in teacher pay; two of Idaho’s neighbors, Nevada and Utah, are on this list. Idaho’s career ladder law has a performance component; districts can give raises to teachers who score proficient or better in teacher evaluations.
  • Thirty-five states have policies that provide additional pay or incentives to teachers who work in high-need schools or take on hard-to-fill jobs; that list includes most of Idaho’s neighbors. Idaho leaves these decisions to districts.
  • Only three states provide extra pay to new teachers who bring “relevant, prior non-teaching work experience” to their new profession. Here as well, Idaho defers to districts.

The NCTQ describes itself as a “nonpartisan, not-for-profit research and policy organization that is committed to modernizing the teaching profession.”

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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