Merit pay in the Buckeye capital?

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A recent proposal by U. Penn professor and frequent dabbler in teacher pay reform models Ted Hershberg to the Board of Education in Columbus, Ohio, could radically revamp that city's teacher assessment and compensation. Proposals like this appear and fade away all the time, but apparently the local teachers union is on board with it and there?s an MOU in the works.

Beginning in 2008-2009, the proposal would junk the traditional salary schedule for new teachers as well as for veteran teachers choosing to participate. Teachers would still receive increases in salary based on advanced degrees but they would also get salary increases for performance that would be mostly measured in terms of student achievement gains. There's no official word on how those gains would be calculated, but if Hershberg's model is adopted they would be using value-added technology.

The most sensible part of the plan may be its "career teacher" track, under which new teachers would be classified as apprentice teachers for the first three to five years of teaching. After getting the nod, they would get tenure and a 30% increase in base salary. This kind of program is good for two reasons: first, an apprentice designation implies that teaching is a professional occupation that takes time to master. Second, years three to five see a great deal of teacher attrition, so giving people a more tangible reason to stick around isn't a bad idea.