A quick review of the various legislative committee agendas confirms that lawmakers have transitioned from reviewing the rules to introducing legislation. Several pieces of education legislation were discussed in the House Education Committee on Tuesday. However, neither of them dealt with teacher pay. Not surprisingly, a Career Ladder pay plan is the hot topic among lawmakers and education lobbyists. Today, several key lawmakers speculated that a plan may be introduced as early as Thursday of this week.
Currently, there are several plans being discussed.
In her presentation to members of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) several weeks ago, State Superintendent Sherri Ybarra hinted that she supported a pilot approach to introduce Career Ladders. Under her proposal, a small number of school districts could volunteer to pilot a two-tiered Career Ladder plan (with leadership awards making up the third tier). Under her plan important decisions about how the pay plan operated and the use of accountability measures would be determined at the local level. Over the course of four—or fewer—years, lawmakers and other districts could learn what works and what doesn’t from the pilot districts; at the same time, all districts would receive a 3% raise on the base of the state funding allocation model for teacher salaries.
The State Board of Education’s plan differs greatly from that outlined by Supt. Ybarra. The Governor’s office has taken on the task of promoting the SBE’s plan. Late last week, stakeholders learned that House Education Chair Reed DeMordaunt (R-Eagle) and Senate Education Chair Dean Mortimer (R-Idaho Falls) were mulling a concept that would include the SBE plan with additional modifications, though those additional adjustments have not appeared in writing.
The IEA has consistently opposed the SBE plan. We believe that any Career Ladder plan that is adopted should:
- ensure our state is able to recruit and retain great teachers.
- provide autonomy to local school districts to build their own plans, specific to the needs of their local communities.
- include the teachers who will be impacted in the development of the pay plan through use of the current bargaining process.
- use fair accountability measures. While we do not believe that teacher evaluations or student test scores are appropriate measures for determining teacher pay, if lawmakers insist on the use of these metrics to pay teachers, the IEA will only support the use of an overall rating for each individual teacher.
We continue to believe that if all parties are unable to come to agreement, some form of the SBE’s plan will be introduced. Please review the SBE Career Ladder plan. Then, please contact members of the House and Senate Education Committees to share your concerns.