NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Pay Raises for Wisconsin Teachers

December 4, 2001

Some analysts believe Wisconsin has an outdated system of teacher compensation because it does not allow teacher pay based on performance. Instead, the pay of public school teachers only increases based on their years of teaching and level of higher education.

Education reformer Thomas Hruz advocates that teachers, like many other professionals, should be compensated, at least in part, on how well they perform. He suggests that schools in Wisconsin can become part of a school-based performance pay system in which all teachers in a school can achieve increased financial compensation if their school, as a whole, meets a set of predetermined performance objectives.

Hruz makes the following points about designing a pay-for-performance program:

  • Performance objectives used to determine satisfactory school performance should include both student achievement and other measures of student and staff behavior.
  • Student testing remains the most efficient, feasible, reliable and accurate means of student assessment.
  • Student performance goals may be in the form of an absolute measure of student achievement or in comparison to predefined standards, whereby student and school performance must reach a specific level for a school and its teachers to be rewarded.
  • Finally, student performance goals can be set by a value-added analysis that follows specific cohorts of students as they progress through school and measures their improvement.

While many call for increases in teacher salaries, others object that it is unfair to simply raise the pay for all teachers without allowing pay differentiation based on performance. And they say it is not unreasonable for the taxpaying public, which funds public school teacher salaries, to expect performance in return for salary increases. Therefore, they say, the state should develop a mechanism to ensure that a significant portion of teachers' pay increases are made contingent on school performance.

Source: Thomas Hruz, "Performance-Based Pay For Teachers In Wisconsin: Options and Opportunities," Volume 14, Number 4, June 2001, Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.


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