Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Equitable teacher distribution

High-poverty schools usually have teachers with less experience than schools where students have other advantages. The Education Trust and other groups see that pattern as an important cause of achievement gaps. Since more senior teachers also earn more, there's a related problem of high-poverty schools ending up with less funding.

The New America Foundation proposes some steps (here) to create a better balance, including:
  • Requiring transparent reporting on real dollar spending on teachers and other instructional resources at each school in a district.
  • Requiring districts to show whether per-pupil funding is be comparable between schools, allowing only a five percent variation to be counted as comparable.
  • Using federal Title II funds on teaching distribution efforts in districts that miss the five percent standard.
  • Allowing federal Teacher Incentive Fund dollars to be used for base salary increases for teachers who agree to teach in high poverty or high-minority schools.
That looks like a promising set of levers. Many discussions of teacher distribution have sounded to me as though teachers should just be ordered to switch jobs. That seems unlikely to work, because teachers can just leave a district, and also simply the wrong way to treat people.

As a Kentucky aside, our school council allocations use actual salaries for current employees, but they leave out some other key elements of instructional spending, including pay for extra duties and extended employment, for itinerant teachers, and for special education.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Updates and data on Kentucky education!