The state legislature voted last year to offer
--Strengths: State lawmakers call it a step toward performance-based rewards, giving local districts freedom to decide which teachers get the contracts and raises.
--Drawbacks: Teachers and many district leaders object to the cap, saying strong teachers will be excluded. Many also say the raise is too small, and because it is linked to surrendering tenure, some teachers say they'll refuse.
'Make them whole'
Several educator and advocacy groups have called for legislators to restore teachers to the salaries they'd be entitled to on the pay scale that was in place before pay freezes started in 2009. For instance, a fifth-year teacher now makes a state minimum of
--Strengths: Would help
--Drawbacks: Pumps a lot of money into reviving a pay scale that state leaders say is outdated and dysfunctional.
CMS is a national pioneer in a push to create jobs that let effective classroom teachers earn significant raises for expanding their responsibilities. The "opportunity culture" approach that debuted in four schools this year will expand to 17 more next year.
--Strengths: Touted as a way to help more students benefit from the most effective teachers, who co-teach with colleagues and/or use technology to reach more classes. Can be done by eliminating or restructuring existing jobs. Raises are significant: Up to
--Drawbacks: Proponents say this is only one piece of pay reform. Public Impact, the consulting firm that created the "opportunity culture" plan, calls for a 10 percent increase in spending for across-the-board raises and other changes.
--Cost: The new jobs are billed as cost-neutral, but the
--Prospects: Expect to see lots of interest, nationally and statewide. But the program is too new to know whether it will yield results and be sustainable.
--Strengths: Designed to be more attractive to starting teachers and help them reach peak earnings sooner.
--Drawbacks: Sure to be unpopular with experienced teachers. Vigdor suggests the only practical path would be a gradual phase-in, with taxpayers footing the bill for the conversion.
--Cost: Estimated at
--Prospects: Won't happen this year, but
--Strengths: Most say a long-range strategy should combine some or all of these elements.
--Drawbacks: Each tactic has defenders and detractors.
--Prospects: Won't happen this year, but expect to see elements discussed during the 2015 long session.
--Strengths: Many experts and advocates say the state needs to "frontload" its pay scale, providing bigger raises for early-career teachers during the years when they make the most progress and are most at risk of leaving the field.
--Drawbacks: Many veteran teachers object to a plan that gives them nothing.
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