Friday, July 01, 2005

Teacher Compensation: The Non-Portability Issue

There's some interesting discussion going on over at Jenny D's (part I and part II) and at A Constrained Vision over the subject of teacher pay.

One of my chief concerns over the way we compensate teachers in this country is the lack of "service experience" portability. What this means is that if I work in one district, become dissatisfied, and decide to work at another district, it's going to cost me a significant amount of money.

Even though there are a few exceptions, generally, almost all school districts (whether they are county or local) base their pay upon how many years of service that the teacher has with that particular district. For the purposes of compensation, most districts will only allow an experienced teacher to transfer "X" number of years of service into that particular district.

I am told that some states will allow transference of "service credits" within the state, but teachers who transfer from another state will only receive 50% credit for their years of experience.

Since compensation is based upon number of years of service with that particular district, it amounts to a permanent pay-cut and a reduction in lifetime earning potential. Any reduction in a teacher's pay or earning potential also has a negative effect on the teacher's retirement pension.

It would be great is some legislation would be enacted allowing teachers with proven track records to seek employment in the where there is a great need for skilled classroom practitioners. It would be better still if teachers could seek the district that has the best fit for them without being financially penalized for leaving districts that are mismanaged or apathetic to the needs of students and those who teach them.
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