Friday, September 16, 2005

Supply & Demand

The Nashville school system has got to find quality teachers to fill spots that no one really wants for various factors which include working conditions and higher pay elsewhere. From the Nashville City Paper comes this report:

School Board Chair Pam Garrett said the study, estimated to cost several thousand dollars, would essentially provide board members with a summary of research and how the two types of pay are best applied in other school systems.

Merit pay is performance-based pay while incentive pay is designed to attract teachers in short supply — such as math and science teachers — or to entice good teachers to transfer to under-performing or at-risk schools.
This is what supply and demand is all about. There are, obviously, some teaching jobs that are going unfulfilled. What the folks in the real world do is start increasing the pay and benefits to attract the people that can do those jobs. We don't need to spend money to ask if it's a good idea or how other systems are doing it. You just start advertising the positions at higher and higher pay rates until the job is filled.

Oh, but there is a large obstruction in the way:

"...currently the teachers’ union wouldn’t allow for such a system unless it was given to all teachers."

Seems to me their interests are not the interests of Nashville citizens and children. And if all the teachers know that working in an inner city school or specialties like science pay more, it's fair enough.

“Our first goal and most important goal is to negotiate that with the union. We couldn’t afford to pay it tomorrow unless the union would allow us to and they are very against merit and incentive pays,” [School Board Finance Chair Kathy] Nevill said.
Our first and most important goal?

From Drew Johnson of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research come these merit pay resources. Drew tells me that there is an amazing difference between the Hamilton County and Metro Nashville school districts. Maybe merit pay is the reason why.

An article from Jay Matthews at the Washington Post titled "A Move to Invest in More Effective Teaching". This article highlights what Tennessee's Hamilton County is having success with.

This eight page .pdf article about merit pay attempts in Tennessee from Education Next s titled "Dollars and Sense What a Tennessee experiment tells us about merit pay".

And for the statisical comparisons between Hamilton & Davidson counties go to: Enter Hamilton or Davidson County in the "View System Report Card" drop down.

And from today's funny pages come a Mallard Fillmore comic that aptly describes this pay situation. The top panel of this group.

1 comment:

George Rand said...

Intend to, but don't have time right now, read the refernced items, but 2 quick thoughts.

What has the "Career Ladder" done in this regard? Is there any correlation between increased compensation and student's value added scores?

Let's look at true merit pay- pay for increased value added, not getting various boxes checked on some bureacratic form. Particularly in light of Councilman Tygard's observation, let's assign pay(base) on the difficulty of the job--low performing schools, hard to teach children or subjects,etc. and let the teachers be assigned to those jobs according to their abilities and be paid accordingly. I broached this idea to Murray Philip and he said it was too much even for him to try and get past the board and teachers' unions. It's long been the elephant in the living room that the least experienced, lowest paid teachers were assigned the most demanding classes.

Aside- Is the verification word the latest new educrat fad or something from one of the new reading/spelling texts?