Reforms Support Great Teaching in Tenn

Article excerpt

In the business world, a one-size-fits-all approach to human capital decisions is rarely successful. Professionals vary in their level of effectiveness, and decisions around promotion, pay and continuing education should reflect these differences.

Over the last few years, Tennessee has taken significant steps to ensure that we don't have a one-size-fits-all approach to the teaching profession. Our state has led the way in ensuring that great teaching occurs in every classroom. We have a new evaluation system that gives educators specific feedback on where they excel and where they can improve. We have reformed tenure to make it a more meaningful process. We have worked to provide better professional development to support teachers.

Now Tennessee is poised to move away from its outdated one-size- fits-all approach to how we pay teachers. The state Board of Education has adopted a plan that will modernize the salary structure for teachers. This plan will give local school systems the flexibility they need to reward, retain and attract excellent teachers.

National and Tennessee-based research shows that the way Tennessee has been compensating teachers a system based solely on years of experience and number of degrees just doesn't work. This system leaves school districts with little flexibility to pay science, math and special education teachers more or to reward great teachers for outstanding work.

It restricts districts that want to be innovative about adequately compensating teachers for providing additional duties such as mentoring other teachers or providing enrichment services beyond the school day to students, or retaining good teachers who might be considering leaving their school district or worse yet the profession. …