Pay Teachers More: Financial Planning for Reach Models

The figure is staggering, almost unbelievable: 130 percent. That’s the amount by which districts could increase the pay of excellent teachers—without upping class sizes and within current budgets—according to three financial-planning briefs from Public Impact (PI). Each brief describes one model in depth: multi-classroom leadership (master teachers, with the help of aides, educate larger groups of students), elementary-subject specialization (educators teaching either math-science or ELA-history to more pupils), and effectively utilizing digital learning (what PI calls the “time-technology swap”). Each plan centers on PI’s notion of the “opportunity culture,” which allows educators to mount a career ladder based on excellence, leadership, and student impact. And each brief offers: an overview of the cost-saving model, a comparison of savings and cost factors, and scenarios that explain how the model may affect budgets based on a number of inputs (e.g., decisions on how widely to spread excellent teachers and quality of original teaching force). For example, in the multi-classroom leadership approach—which generates by far the most savings—schools can expect to save about $550 per pupil by asking multi-class teachers to lead four classes with three others. These ideas make a ton of sense; unfortunately, common sense rarely rules when staffing American public schools. Gadfly suspects he’ll find these innovative models in action in charter schools long before school districts—and the unions—allow them in traditional public schools.

SOURCE: Public Impact, "Pay Teachers More: Financial Planning for Reach Models" (Chapel Hill, NC: Public Impact, July 2012).

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