By Stuart Adams
Utah State Senator, District 22
Senate Bill 67, Teacher Effectiveness and Outcomes Based Compensation, was designed to address the manner in which our teachers are compensated.
Current pay scales are structured based upon years served and degrees and are negotiated in collective bargaining agreements. This compensation system does not take into account what we value most in education – student outcomes. Our number one priority for education is and must be to ensure that our students are achieving learning gains and succeeding.
SB67 would combine learning gains or student progress with the teacher’s annual evaluation to determine their level of performance. This would then determine their ability to advance on the pay scale. Whether our finest teachers are in their third year, tenth year, twentieth year or anywhere in between, they are not compensated for their performance but rather receive pay advancement according to the antiquated system of steps and lanes. We need to pay and reward our very best teachers in conjunction with the great progress they are making with our students. This is impossible to do under the existing salary structure. Conversely, many poorly performing teachers end up being compensated at a much higher rate than our very finest teachers.
We have many high performing teachers in our state. We are losing some to administration and some out of frustration with a compensation system that does not recognize or value them for their accomplishments with the students they teach or the colleagues they mentor. We have difficulty attracting our very finest into this profession under a one-size-fits-all compensation for teachers. My goal is to have our master teachers, our very best teachers, make as much if not more than school and district administrators. This is the goal and purpose of my bill.
How we choose to compensate our teachers is a discussion that is long overdue. Utah has a high student population in relation to the number of income earners. This leaves us with the distinction of being the lowest funded per pupil in the nation. Our commitment to education is high, but our finding is unlikely to change when our state is already committing 51% of the state budget to education.
We must find meaningful solutions that better meet the needs of both our students and our teachers. Restructuring the educator pay scale will both reward and attract individuals into the profession who are equipped with the skills necessary to help our students achieve success.