Statement from The Education Trust and The Education Trust-West on CTA opposition to performance pay for teachers

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Publication date: 
September 20 2007 (All day)

It’s no secret that achieving academic success at high-poverty schools is more demanding – educators know it, parents know it, policymakers know it. We also know that high quality teachers are essential to the success of these students.

To help attract our nation’s best teachers to the schools and students who most need their help, U.S. Rep. George Miller of California has proposed a completely voluntary incentive program that says – very plainly – that teachers who are successful in extraordinary circumstances deserve more than ordinary compensation. But the California Teachers’ Association (CTA), the state teachers’ union, has launched an attack on this idea, calling it “unfair” and “disrespectful to educators.”

“What’s unfair and disrespectful is the idea that teachers who are willing to take on tougher assignments deserve nothing more for their accomplishments than a proverbial pat on the back,” says Amy Wilkins, vice president of The Education Trust. “That’s not fair to the teachers, and it’s not fair to the students.”

In fact, schools and districts throughout the U.S. are already showing how this kind of compensation plan can be beneficial to both teachers and students. In Denver, the local teachers’ union helped design a performance pay system that is resulting in both student achievement gains and teacher satisfaction. And similar programs across the nation are also finding success.

“The Miller proposal offered CTA an opportunity to be a change agent like their colleagues in other communities throughout the country,” said Russlynn Ali, executive director of The Education Trust-West. “Unfortunately, they’ve chosen to focus their considerable resources defending the status quo.”

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For additional comment, reporters may reach Russlynn Ali of EdTrust-West at (510) 459-4589.