Editorial: Reform teacher pay in Eagle County | VailDaily.com

Editorial: Reform teacher pay in Eagle County

Matt Zalaznick
Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail, CO Colorado

The Eagle County School District is making the right move in reforming its

pay-for-performance program for teachers. While we have long supported the Teacher Advancement Program ” known commonly by its acronym, TAP ” we have also heard constant complaints about how it’s designed. We like the idea of teachers being held accountable for more than just their longevity, but we agree that our front-line educators should have a better understanding of how their raises and salaries are calculated.

And the formula used to make the calculation also has to be more fair, which is just what the district is working on. Currently, teachers’ raises are determined in part by how the students in their classrooms do on standardized tests. The proposed change would base salaries on how schools and the entire district does on tests.

This would reduce the impact of things out of a teachers’ control, such as whether one of their students had a good breakfast or enough sleep before the test. The impact of students who just aren’t good at tests, no matter how good their teachers are, also would be reduced.

Also a major part of TAP are the evaluations of individual teachers. The district may drop its numeric grading scale and use general terms like “excellent,” “high performing,” “improvement needed” and “unacceptable” to rank teachers. One principal described the numeric scale as a “morale killer.”

Pay, no matter how much somebody loves there job, can have a substantial impact on job satisfaction and one’s sense of worth. “Accountability” is one thing, but we’ve achieved nothing if we’ve demoralized our best teachers.

We hope the district not only moves forward with its reforms, but remains open to fine-tuning the plan to make it as workable and meaningful as possible for teachers and their students.

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