Denver's Teacher-Pay Experiment Struggling
As D.C. teachers debate a proposal by Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee for big pay increases tied to improved student achievement, one of the nation's most ambitious experiments with teacher pay-for-performance may be floundering.
The new edition of Education Week reports that Denver's teachers union and school officials are digging in for a fight over proposed changes to the three-year-old ProComp, or the Professional Compensation Plan for Teachers. Unlike Rhee's plan, which would be subsidized for the first five years by foundation grants, Denver voters approved $25 million in new property taxes to implement the system, which rewards teachers for student growth on test scores, service in high-risk schools and other factors.
About half of Denver's teachers opted into ProComp; new teachers are automatically assigned. According to Education Week, Denver school officials want to expand the program while the 3,200-member Denver Classroom Teachers Association want to wait for a substantive evaluation of the pay system. The only study so far, by a University of Colorado professor, found that teachers who entered ProComp raised student test scores only slightly compared with colleagues who stayed out.
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