Climbing the ladder: how educators earn more money under Little’s proposal

Gov. Brad Little introduced one of the year’s top education bills Wednesday when he unveiled his five-year, $225 million plan to increase pay for high-performing veteran teachers.

Gov. Brad Little Governor Brad Little reads to children at Hawthorne Elementary school in Boise during a classroom visit. Sami Edge/Idaho Education News.


In terms of scope, cost, ambition and timeframe, it’s similar in stature to the original 2015 career ladder law. Passed under former Gov. Butch Otter, the original career ladder was a five-year $250 million program to increase teacher pay and help attract candidates to the education profession.

Now that the career ladder has been implemented and Little has secured additional funding to increase minimum teacher salaries, this is his plan to improve the competitiveness of salaries for experienced, highly effective teachers.

But to get their share of the increase, teachers will need to obtain a new advanced professional endorsement, which will place them in the first cell of the new advanced professional rung on the career ladder.

Who is eligible for the new advanced professional endorsement?

Instructional staff or pupil services staff who have held a professional endorsement for five years or more may apply for the new Idaho advanced professional endorsement.

What  are some of the specific requirements for the advanced professional endorsement?

  • Teachers must have held a renewable certificate for at least eight years or more or have completed an approved interim certificate of three years or longer and have held a renewable certificate for five years or more.
  • Teachers must have met the professional compensation rung performance criteria for four of the five previous years, or in the third, fourth and fifth year.
  • Teachers must have served in a building or district leadership position in three of the previous five years. Examples of leadership positions may include an instructional specialist or coach, a mentor, a curriculum or assessment committee member, a team or committee leadership position, data coach or other leadership position identified by the local school district or charter.
  • Teachers must have a written recommendation from the educator’s district or charter school.
  • Teachers must have an annual individualized professional learning plan and self-evaluation.
  • Teachers in their first year of holding an advanced professional endorsement will be placed in the first cell of the advanced professional compensation rung of the career ladder.

What if a teacher meets some but not all of the criteria?

If a teacher does not meet the criteria, teachers may provide additional evidence demonstrating effective teaching that may be considered “in exceptional cases” for determining proficiency and student achievement.

How do teachers move up the advanced compensation rung of the career ladder, which will allow them to earn higher pay?

  • Teachers must earn an overall annual evaluation score of “proficient” or higher, with no components of the evaluation rated as unsatisfactory or basic. Teachers must also earn a rating of “distinguished” in either domain two, classroom environment, or domain three, instruction and use of assessment, on the evaluation.
  • Additionally, teachers must demonstrate 75 percent or more of their students met their measurable student achievement targets or student success indicator targets.

What if teachers don’t meet the performance criteria?

If teachers do not meet the performance criteria for the advanced professional rung of the career ladder, they won’t be able to move up the ladder by gaining another year of experience or obtaining additional education. If they’d don’t meet the performance criteria from the previous year, the state allocation for their salary will remain at the previous year’s level.

What about accountability? Is there teeth in this bill?

School districts and charter schools with administrators who do not adhere to state rules and laws governing the annual teacher evaluations will not be eligible to receive state funding for leadership premiums for that school district or charter school.

How do we know the extra money will make it to the right teachers?

The bill creates two new minimum salary guarantees.

  • One, taking effect July 1, 2022, makes sure teachers on the professional and advanced professional rungs won’t be paid less than the minimum dollar amount on the professional rung.
  • The other, hitting the books upon full build out on July 1, 2025, ensures educators placed on the advanced professional rung won’t be paid less than the minimum dollar amount on that advanced professional rung. Both of those measures go beyond the state’s current salary guarantees, which only establish a state minimum salary based on the initial residency rung on the career ladder, where most first-year teachers are placed.

Clark Corbin

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday