The Senate Site SB 67: Measuring Teacher Effectiveness

SB 67: Measuring Teacher Effectiveness

Posted in 2012 on Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 at 3:10 PM 6 Comments

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.

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6 Comments to “SB 67: Measuring Teacher Effectiveness”

  1. Jon Trauntvein says:

    This bill seems to me to be fundamentally flawed. Looking at it’s already voluminous text, I can see no mention of how “effective” or “highly effective” will be evaluated. The only objective means that I can think of is to perform comparative evaluations of end of level test express. The assumption that these scores adequately represent a student’s progress is laughable. These scores are already over-emphasised as a result of NCLB imposed by the federal government. This bill will lead educators reducing their risk by “teaching to the test”. The end effect of this bill will be to reduce incentive to innovate and to encourage mediocrity.

  2. Derek says:

    I would like to know what data there is to support the claim that high performing teachers are leaving “out of frustration with a compensation system that does not recognize or value them.” As a high performing teacher, I have only considered leaving the profession due to micromanagement by the state legislature. The “value them” part is probably accurate, but that means value in the sense of respect. Very few GOP legislators respect public education teachers and value their opinions or ideas about education. This is my frustration as a teacher- keep BIG state government out of education and let locally elected school boards run public education.

  3. Jason says:

    I have to agree with the two comments above me. Senator, you truly do not understand how education works, and it is quite shameful that you and your cronies continue on with these bills that hurt us as teachers.

    I am also a “high performing” teacher, and my students rate at the top of their district on their scores. I would stand to be in the top tier of this proposed rating system, yet…..

    I am even more demoralized by the fact that I will be judged by the actions of others, namely students.

    In the very wording above we read “their level of performance” to denote what a teacher does, and it also says “student progress”. Not being in education, you don’t understand just how frustrating it is to be the quote/unquote best teacher and still not have students reach their full potential due to the horrendous problems that they face day in and out: homelessness, hunger, divorce, bullying, depression, etc., etc. Add to that the varied nature of intelligence and the fact that we have been socially promoting children for so long, and you get a mixed bag each August when you open up your attendance lists.
    Some teachers have the most difficult students who will never progress, are apathetic, and can’t wait to drop out and get a job. Some have the most wonderful over-achievers who have 110% parental support at home and are well fed and clothed. To expect one teacher to be paid less just because of a random class assignment is ridiculous.

    INSTEAD, why not focus on those words “their level of performance”, and truly focus on a teacher’s performance. Restructuring the evaluations and then holding administrators accountable for completing the evaluation, providing remediation, and being a model instructor. As it stand, my experience with administration has been that they all were coaches and/or have political connections in the district. Focusing on making schools a place of effective instruction starts with a MODEL of instruction, the principal. Requiring excellent administration AND holding teachers accountable for properly preparing, delivering, and following up with a lesson is paramount to student success. It won’t happen otherwise, but the actual learning may not happen despite excellent teaching, and that’s what this bill completely omits: the student factor.

    I suggest you take a page from your junior and actually get out and visit with teachers. Talk to us, find out the truth and see what truly works in the classroom and based on research.

  4. Susan says:

    Why don’t the legislators teach in a classroom for 1 month. Then they may understand how difficult it is for teachers to teach. They are expected to “parent” their students as well as teach the curriculum for the year and prepare their students for the next grade. Where does parent responsibility factor into the equation? There are plenty of teachers who shouldn’t be in the profession, but there are more good teachers who deserve a lot more respect than they are getting. Let’s reward them with a living wage so they don’t have to work second jobs just to survive.

  5. Rich says:

    Why must you look for ways to be punitive to education? We finally are working towards a positive direction with administrative and teacher accountability with SB 64. Do you feel threatened to actually have someone from the Republican Senate actually work in collaboration with the folks that are in the education trenches?
    As a school administrator I welcome SB 64. I find it highly offensive that you would push a bill to attempt to thwart the positive steps that we can make by working together.

  6. Hillary says:


    Of course, the idea that teacher’s should be paid what they are worth is on the right track. However, I don’t know that teachers could ever be compensated for the time, effort, and emotion that they devote to other people’s children on a daily basis. Driven by altruistic motives, money is rarely what causes teachers to leave the profession. It is the lack of support from our legislators in the form of funding to lower class sizes and provide materials, the lack of understanding for what we do as educators in a classrom, and the harsh criticism based on factors that we can’t control that wears down teachers. Schools are not failing, but families are. As families continue to fail, schools cannot completely mitigate the impact on students. However, this is exactly what teachers are expected to do, and what we actively strive to do on a daily basis.

    One concern that I have with SB 67 is the fact that scores on a test will be the indicator of teacher “success”. The teachers that are highest performing are often given the students with the greatest gains to make. While these students will make progress in a high-performing teacher’s classroom, they will not completely close a learning gap in one year. How would a teacher be judged by this?

    Creating a merit pay model will lead to less collaboration and collegiality in schools, which will ultimately harm our children. Schools are not businesses, and should not be treated as such. Perhaps our legislators should go out and visit our schools so that they can see that teachers are performing miracles every day, student by student. SB 67 is an insult to educators and to the students they serve.

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