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Educators Meet in Washington to Discuss Alternative Pay

By Cindy Long

The National Education Association kicked off its Alternative Compensation Summit in Washington today -- an event packed with research findings and regional discussions on enhancements to the single salary schedule and alternatives to teacher pay based solely on student test scores.

Attendees of the the two-day summit came from around the country, bringing their best ideas and strategies as the issue of alternative compensation takes hold of the debate around teacher effectiveness and performance.

“This is a tough and sometimes controversial topic to talk about,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, whose welcoming remarks opened the summit. “We have affiliates on all sides of the issue. But this is an important conversation to have and that’s why this summit is so important.”

When it comes to alternative pay systems, we know one thing for sure, Van Roekel said: “If you don’t have the buy-in of educators, any system pursued is destined for failure.”

He said that now is not the time to simply say no, but to move the debate toward pay systems that can make a difference. Such systems might compensate teachers who agree to mentor new colleagues or offer incentives to teach in hard-to-staff schools, for example.

“At the end of the day, the question isn’t how to differentiate pay between teachers,” said Van Roekel. “The question is how to pay teachers a salary that encourages the creation of great public schools for every student.”


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