Members of the House Education Committee got a first glimpse at the proposal being touted by Rep. Reed DeMordaunt (R-Eagle) and the Governor on Friday morning.
In his opening remarks to the committee, DeMordaunt stated that the meeting was not intended to bring forth any motions or debate. The purpose for the meeting was to allow legislators time to review and ask questions about the 31-page document. Marilyn Whitney, education aide to Governor Butch Otter, presented an overview of the proposal.
Though a bill has not yet been introduced for print, the IEA was able to get a copy. Here is a brief synopsis of the proposal, which combines teacher certification and career ladders.
Under the proposal, Idaho will move from a single-tiered system to a two-tiered system: Residency and Professional. The state will continue to issue the five-year renewable teaching certificates, and teachers will need to receive an ‘endorsement’ to move into the Professional tier.
No teacher will lose his or her teaching certificate or forfeit the ability to teach. But, an individual who is unable to demonstrate proficiency could be frozen on the Residency level of the local pay grid until s/he achieves the required ‘endorsement’.
Residency certification is encompassed in an individual teacher’s first three (3) years of teaching. It also requires mentoring and an individual professional learning plan.
At the end of the third year of residency, a teacher must qualify for a teaching endorsement by:
- achieving an overall “proficient” rating by the school district,
- receiving no unsatisfactory marks on local evaluation, and
- showing proof that a majority of their students have met their measurable student achievement targets.
Any resident certificate holder who is unable to achieve an overall “proficient” rating will be:
- able to continue to teach in Idaho,
- denied continuing contract status until s/he is able to demonstrate proficiency,
- ineligible for leadership premiums, and
- unable to move to the professional pay rung. Instead that individual will be frozen in the final residency rung until s/he achieves a “proficient” rating. In addition, the district will not receive additional salary based apportionment for that teacher.
Outcomes on a teacher’s evaluation and/or student achievement will not affect one’s certification.
The proposed plan is implemented over a five-year period. Full implementation would not occur until 2020, at which time the beginning teacher salary allocation would be $37,000 and the top tier on the allocation model would be $50,000.
A recent BSU radio story pointed out that the average starting teacher pay in 2012-13 for several states surrounding Idaho far surpassed the amount Idaho hopes to allocate five years from now.
The ladder has two levels: Residency (which has three rungs) and Professional (which has 5 rungs). In addition, districts would receive $2,000 for every teacher who has earned at least 24 credits beyond a Bachelor’s Degree and $3,500 a year for every teacher who has earned a Master’s Degree.
In addition to the two levels of the ladder, the plan would also provide for Leadership Premiums and Master Teacher Premiums.
This portion of the plan is very similar to what is currently in place in Idaho law with one major change. In order to qualify for a Leadership Premium, an individual teacher must first receive an overall “proficient” rating in the previous year. The only exemption would be for teachers who are receiving Leadership Premiums for Hard-to-Fill positions.
Master Teacher Premiums:
Beginning in 2019, additional bonus money would be available for those teachers who Rep. DeMordaunt told committee members were the “shining stars” of their schools. He and Ms. Whitney pointed out that approximately 10-25% of Idaho teachers are currently identified as “distinguished”. This piece of the plan is designed to recognize and reward individuals like them.
Local school districts would need to either develop qualifications for Master Teacher Premiums and have their plans approved by the SBE or the district would be required to adopt qualifications that will be developed by the SBE.
No teacher who has taught for fewer than eight (8) consecutive years would be eligible for this bonus money.
The teacher would need to demonstrate mastery though the use of student achievement data, mastery of instruction, and successful completion of an annual individualized professional learning plan to qualify for the Master Teacher Premiums.
Any certificated individual who provides services to students but who is not involved in the direct instruction of those students, including those staff holding a pupil personnel services certificate would not be eligible for the career ladder plan. Salary allocation for these individuals would be tied to the salary allocation model already outlined in Idaho Code. These individuals would be able to qualify for leadership premiums, but they would not be permitted to receive Master Teacher Premiums.
The IEA has been working very hard to make sure that any career ladder and tiered certification plans that are adopted by the legislature will ensure our state’s ability to recruit and retain teachers, ensure fiscal stability for all school districts—large and small, and expand local autonomy…the very same goals the Governor’s Task Force set for itself as it began this process several years ago.
In her initial response to Friday’s proposal, IEA Penni Cyr said, “The teacher salary proposal unveiled today does not adequately address the problems that it was intended to solve. In fact, it may actually create even more frustration and controversy for teachers, students and school districts.
We hope that this proposal ends up being just a springboard for a more robust and well-conceived plan that actually moves Idaho forward in a tangible way, and we stand ready to work with the legislature to make that happen.”