NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Teachers' Unions Fight Performance-based Pay

June 18, 1999

Officials of teachers' unions argue that teachers deserve pay raises. But those some local union officials don't want raises tied to teachers' performance in the classroom.

William Sanders of the University of Tennessee has developed a method whereby the performance of students is measured at the beginning and the end of each school year. The method, called "value-added" research -- could someday be used to help set teachers salaries. But getting the unions to sign on to it is the problem.

  • According to a new salary survey by the American Federation of Teachers, beginning teachers earned on average $25,735 during the 1997-98 school year -- compared to an average salary of $35,000 received by college graduates in other fields.
  • Kentucky has used a form of performance pay for years -- granting extra money to schools as rewards for exceeding state-set standards.
  • The president of the Colorado Federation of Teachers has okayed a contract adopted in a suburban Denver school district that moves in the direction of linking teacher quality to teacher pay -- but does not employ student testing.
  • Teachers in Delaware are fighting a performance-based contract proposed by the governor.

Source: Editorial, "Tying Teacher Pay, Performance Could Boost Entire Profession," USA Today, June 18, 1999.


Browse more articles on Education Issues