Archived Information

CPRE Policy Brief: Reinventing Teacher Compensation Systems - September 1995

New Structures and Approaches to Compensation

No one compensation plan should be viewed as an ideal, or universally applicable model. And teacher compensation systems alone are not the solution to vague and often conflicting educational goals, and low levels of student achievement. However, compensation is a potentially powerful tool that could be used to support education reform efforts, reward excellence, and undergird a climate of educational excellence. They compensation reforms in Kentucky, South Carolina, Dallas, and Douglas County, as well as research evidence from the private sector provide some early lessons, about new approaches to teacher compensation.

State and local policymakers may want to consider launching efforts to transform compensation by adding elements of skills-or competency-based pay. This would send a signal to teachers and the education system that new skills are needed and valued, and that a key to accomplishing the education goal of teaching students to world-class achievement levels is to enhance the professional knowledge and skills of teachers. Pay-at-risk and performance bonuses should also be considered, but probably as smaller elements of new compensation programs.

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