Pay-for-Performance Teacher Compensation: An Inside View of Denver's ProComp Plan
August 15, 2007
Phil Gonring, Paul Teske, and Brad Jupp
Harvard Education Press
This book will tell you all you could want to know about ProComp, Denver's pioneering pay-for-performance (PFP) system for teachers. The spark for ProComp came in 1996, when NCTAF's What Matters Most report inspired Phil Gonring of Denver's Rose Community Foundation to explore possible teacher compensation reforms in the Mile High City. Over the next decade or so, Gonring (who co-authors this book with then-chief union negotiator Brad Jupp and University of Colorado Professor Paul Teske) would play a central role in bringing together union, district, state, and city leaders, as well as a big-time national donor or two, to create one of the most intriguing PFP systems in the nation. The book chronicles this period in great detail, highlighting important battles fought by a diverse cast of characters. Among these battles are a 72-hour negotiation to hammer out the details of a two-year pilot; a crafty, Rose-led effort to extend the pilot to four years; a come-from-behind organizing push to win the union's approval for ProComp; and a politically masterful campaign to pass the $25 million mill-levy that currently funds ProComp. These accounts give valuable insights into the dynamics of city education politics for reformers nationwide. The authors imply that the success of ProComp relied largely on the leadership and perseverance of entrepreneurial individuals (including many others than the authors themselves). Of course, they note, policy victories alone won't make ProComp a success; there are immense technical challenges to implementing the plan. Subsequent sections on such issues are less gripping than the earlier chapters of political drama and intrigue, but they're equally important. If you're an educator, a policymaker, or just a freelance rabble-rouser interested in teacher-pay reforms, you will not want to miss this book. You can get it at Amazon now.