Teacher Salary Talk

By: Mike McDaniel
By: Mike McDaniel

Friday morning, Gov. Phil Bryant held up a report that could change the way public school teachers in Mississippi make their money.

"We should pay for what works, not for what merely has been accepted," Bryant said.

It was put together by the Research and Curriculum Unit at Mississippi State University and calls for teachers to be paid based on their performance in the classroom, expelling evaluations and longevity.

"It does our educational system and more importantly our students a disservice for a dedicated effective teacher to earn the same salary as a teacher who does the bare minimum," Bryant said.

Performance pay is part of Bryant's comprehensive agenda to reshape the state's educational system. If approved by the legislature, the plan would give local school districts flexibility in shaping their own framework and funding mechanisms. The report's principle author, Julie Jordan, says that's because local districts have different budgets and different needs.

Jordan says those districts and the state must make some adjustments to help pay for it.

"If we are serious about basing compensation on performance and not tenure then the state should end the practice of mandating a salary increase based on years of service. Likewise local districts must consider using local supplements to fund a new approach," Jordan said.

State Board of Education Chairman, Wayne Gann says the compensation plan would help create stronger teachers and administrators. By doing so, he says that would give students more of an edge.

"Our economic well being and the very quality of life in our state depend on a quality educated work force and trained work force," Gann said.

Bryant says he knows not everyone will embrace the plan but contends it's time for the state to make a change.

"If you know that your salary will increase if you improve, certainly you're going to be drawn to improvement. That's simple human nature. We use it in business very effectively every day. We need to use that business model in education," Bryant said.

Several school districts including Clarksdale, Gulfport, Lamar County and Rankin County have already expressed interest in the compensation plan and will possibly participate in a pilot program.

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  • by Anonymous on Jul 27, 2012 at 07:46 PM
    At least he's trying to do something.
  • by Ken Location: Merridian on Jul 27, 2012 at 07:21 PM
    Who is going to make the decisions on what teacher gets what? Will each school in Meridian do it for themselves??
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