Teacher Trendline Archive

Does low pay shut teachers out of the housing market?


Teacher salaries are always in the news, but in the last few months we've noticed that housing affordability for teachers is in the spotlight, with many school districts exploring ways to support teachers' ability to rent or purchase homes. This month, we assess the ability of teachers to: 1) rent an apartment, 2) save for a down payment, and 3) make a monthly house payment.


September 2017: Substitute Teachers


As students around the country return to class, far too many will find a substitute teacher at the helm. Here we take a look at districts' qualifications for their substitutes as well as their compensation.


August 2017: Involuntary transfers and reassignment


Every year, shifts in school enrollment, programs, or other factors require schools to transfer some teachers out of their current position at a school. But how do those teachers find a new position -- and what happens to the teachers who can't?


June 2017: Layoffs


In light of this change in the layoff landscape, this month we examine how districts around the country handle teacher layoffs and which teachers are the first to go when districts face budget crises. Using our Teacher Contract Database, we take a look at layoff policies in 124 of the largest school districts in the country.


May 2017: Differentiated Pay


This month, Teacher Trendline asks the question "Just how common is differentiated pay for teachers?" To answer, we look at two common types of differentiated pay: more compensation either for teaching a hard-to-staff subject or for teaching in high-needs schools.


April 2017: Health insurance premiums


One key component of teacher compensation is health insurance. It gets less attention than salaries and pensions, but as the costs of health care rise, this issue will become increasingly visible. This month, Teacher Trendline uses data from the Teacher Contract Database to examine how much of the health insurance premium is covered by school districts and how this has changed over the last four years.


March 2017: Evaluation systems


In recent years, teacher evaluation policy has been front and center in the quest to improve teacher quality. This month, we take a look at the basic building blocks of any evaluation system: how many ratings exist and what components make up a teacher's evaluation.


January 2017: New year, new Trendline!


Welcome to the Teacher Trendline, NCTQ's monthly newsletter designed especially for school district officials (subscribe here). Each month we highlight the latest trends in school district policies on teachers...


December 2016: Recap of 2016 Teacher Trendlines


Welcome to the Teacher Trendline, NCTQ's monthly newsletter designed just for school district officials (subscribe here). Each month we use data from NCTQ's Teacher Contract Database to highlight...


October 2016: Class size


According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the 2011-2012 school year, average class size across all public schools in the United States was 21.6 students in elementary school, 25.5 students in middle school, and 24.2 students in high school. This month, Teacher Trendline looks at class size restrictions and what happens when class size limits are exceeded.


September 2016: Teacher leave


This month, we take a look at how much leave time teachers receive each year and what policies school districts use to incentivize higher teacher attendance, from allowing sick and personal leave to carryover from year to year to paying teachers for unused leave when they retire.


August 2016: Student and teacher school year


This month, we analyze school calendars for the 2016-2017 school year to answer some key questions. Is school really starting earlier? How long is the school year for students and teachers?


July 2016: How much time do teachers get to plan and collaborate?


In order to be well prepared for daily instruction, teachers need time without students to plan and collaborate. This month, Teacher Trendline delves into how long the teacher workday is and how much of that time is devoted to planning and collaboration.


June 2016: Substitute teachers


This month, the Teacher Trendline takes a look at substitute teachers' required qualifications, salary, and benefits. We find some significant changes in the pay and benefits provided to substitute teachers since our last look only one year ago. 


May 2016: Teacher Tenure


This month's Teacher Trendline takes a look at the length of probationary periods across districts in the Teacher Contract Database and how much flexibility districts have in the decision to award tenure.


April 2016: Teacher transfers and mutual consent


In this edition of the Teacher Trendline, we take a look at the policies that govern voluntary and involuntary transfers, plus we take a deeper look at districts that use mutual consent policies to assign transferring teachers to new schools. 


March 2016: Observations


Observations are an essential component of teacher evaluations that receive far less attention than student growth, yet affect more teachers. This edition of Teacher Trendline looks at how often teachers are observed, for how long and by whom.


February 2016: Chicago


With contract negotiations in Chicago attracting national attention, this special edition of the Teacher Trendline takes a look at how the Windy City compares to the 50 largest districts in the country and other Illinois districts on some of the major points on the table, including teacher compensation and evaluation.


January 2016: Layoffs


The first Teacher Trendline of 2016 takes a fresh look at our most popular topic from 2015: layoffs.


December 2015: Recap of 2015 Teacher Trendlines


Over the course of the year, the Teacher Trendline covered everything from hot topics like teacher evaluation and salary (including this interactive map) to the nitty gritty of teacher planning time and the length of teacher contracts. As the year draws to a close, here is a brief look at our most popular topics of 2015...


November 2015: The role of student achievement and teacher performance in evaluations, compensation and dismissal


This month, the Teacher Trendline takes a look at the role of student growth in evaluation ratings and how districts connect evaluation ratings with compensation and dismissal policies.


October 2015: Length of contracts


This month's Teacher Trendline considers the characteristics of teacher contracts and school board policy documents that govern the relationship between teachers and districts, including the average length of contracts and how many districts are operating under expired contracts.


September 2015: Lifetime Earnings


This month's Teacher Trendline updates NCTQ's analysis in Smart Money: What teachers make, how long it takes and what it buys them and estimates how much a teacher can make over his or her career, using salary information from the 2014-2015 school year.


July 2015: Teacher Leave


This month's Teacher Trendline examines how much sick and personal leave the nation's biggest districts give each year and also how they incentivize their teachers, through leave carryover and buyback policies, to encourage the highest possible teacher attendance.


June 2015: Planning and collaboration time


In June's special anniversary edition of the Teacher Trendline we explore how much time teachers get for planning and collaboration, the same topic of our first post three years ago.


May 2015: Substitute Teachers


In May's edition of the Teacher Trendline we explore substitute teacher policies, including education and licensing requirements, pay and health benefits.


April 2015: Transfers and Excessing


April's Teacher Trendline is all about transfers and excessing, highlighting how districts prioritize transfers and how they decide where to place teachers when excessing occurs. Plus, we take a detailed look at mutual consent policies across the country.


March 2015: Teacher Evaluations


For this month's Teacher Trendline, we closely examine teacher evaluation policies in the largest districts across the country. Specifically, we take a look at the major components within evaluations, frequency and teachers' ability to grieve their evaluation ratings.


February 2015: Health insurance premiums


With health insurance coverage making headlines in both national and local news, this month's Trendline examines health insurance premiums for teachers and their dependents in the largest districts across the country.


January 2015: Layoffs


Our Teacher Trendline series kicks off 2015 with a look at teacher layoff policies in the largest districts across the country.


December 2014: Recap of 2014 Teacher Trendlines


As the year draws to a close, we look back on the most talked about Teacher Trendlines from 2014. We covered everything from teacher salaries to leave policies and in this edition, we highlight some of the most popular Teacher Trendlines from the past year.


October 2014: Teacher Leave


October's Teacher Trendline focuses on teacher leave. We take a close look at sick and personal leave, as well as policies allowing teachers to carry over leave and those that differentiate the amount of leave teachers receive depending upon their experience.


September 2014: Substitute teachers


As teachers and students settle into the new school year, we turn our attention to a group of teachers who often are overlooked: substitutes


August 2014: Student and teacher school year


It's back-to-school time for districts across the country, and there's no doubt many families have spent some time examining this year's calendar. In this month's Trendline, we take a close look at student and teacher calendars for 2014-2015.


July 2014: Teacher Tenure


This month's Trendline takes a close look at how districts in the NCTQ Teacher Contract Database are currently implementing key aspects of teacher tenure.


June 2014: Student enrollment


In this month's Teacher Trendline, we examine districts with the most dramatic changes in student enrollment within the 50 largest districts in the country, from 2009 to 2011.


April 2014: Teacher excessing and placement


Read about the latest trends when it comes to how teachers are excessed and how excessed teachers are placed in schools.


March 2014: Teacher Salaries and Housing Affordability


We're excited to bring back the Teacher Trendline series with one of our most popular topics: teacher salaries.


Teacher Trendline: 2013 Recap


This month we look back at the topics we've covered this year. By far, teacher salaries are the most popular topic we covered in 2013. Here's a taste of the high and low salary data from February.


Teacher Trendline: The Role of Teacher Performance in Evaluations, Pay and Layoffs


In our monthly newsletter for school districts, we look at how districts are tying eval ratings, pay and layoffs to teacher performance.


Tr3 Trends: Philadelphia's Teacher Contract Negotiations


We take a look at what's on the bargaining table in Philadelphia and how it compares to policies in other districts.


Tr3 Trends: Student and Teacher School Year


With the start of a new school year upon us, we thought we'd take a look at the 2013-14 calendars in the 114 school districts we track. Here's what we found.


Tr3 Trends: The Timing of Teacher Contracts


In this edition of our monthly school district policy newsletter, we look at which districts' teachers are working under expired contracts and how long contracts usually last before they're up for renegotiation.


Tr3 Trends: Teacher Salaries, Urban vs. Suburban


In this month's Tr3 Trends newsletter, we compare teacher pay in suburbs and cities.


Tr3 Trends: Substitute Teachers


Substitute teachers spend a lot of time with students, yet policies governing their work don't often make it into the spotlight. This month we compare districts' requirements for becoming a substitute, policies on evaluating subs, and substitutes' pay and


Tr3 Trends: Health Insurance Premiums


Without a doubt, health insurance is the most important and expensive part of teachers' benefits packages, comprising a big chunk of districts' compensation budgets. This month we delved into the Tr3 database to compare districts' contributions towards he


Tr3 Trends: Teacher Excessing and Placement


In this month's Tr3 Trends, we take a look at teacher excessing: what factors determine which teachers to excess, how excessed teachers are assigned to schools, and what happens to excessed teachers who cannot find new assignments.


Tr3 Trends: Teacher Salaries in 2012-13


In 2012-13, the average salary in Tr3 districts for a first-year teacher with a bachelor's degree is about $39,000. For teachers with master's degrees the salary scale tops out, on average, around $69,000.


Tr3 Trends: Who's Evaluating Teachers?


This month we see which districts are moving away from using principals as the sole evaluators of teachers. Specifically, we look at who is using peers, 3rd party observers and student voice in the teacher evaluation process.


Tr3 Trends: Trending in 2012


Tr3 Trends has covered many issues this year: teacher planning time, turnaround schools, using teacher performance in personnel decisions, leave, and more. So which trends from our newsletter stood out the most in 2012?


Tr3 Trends: Teacher Leave Days


In this issue, we look at how many sick and personal days teachers get each year and what districts are doing to stem teacher absences. On average, Tr3 districts give teachers about 13.5 leave days a year for illness and personal reasons.


Tr3 Trends: Counting what counts


This month we look at changes in how teacher performance is evaluated and factored into pay and layoff decisions. Much of the shift on these issues has been driven by major changes to state laws in the past few years. In this issue of Tr3 Trends, we see


TR3 Trends: Chicago Teachers' Strike


In this special edition we compare Chicago to the nation's 50 largest school districts. We take a look at issues that have been sticking points in the current contract negotiations: compensa


TR3 Trends: School Year Length and Summer Break


For this issue, we took a look at school year calendars to see just how long students were out of school this summer and how many days they'll spend in school this year. We compared this to the 2011-2012 school year calendars to determine which districts


TR3 Trends: School Intervention and Improvement


This month's issue looks at the strategies that Tr3 districts are pursuing to improve chronically poor-performing schools--using federal funds available through the School Improvement Grant (SIG), districts can implement the following improvement models.


TR3 Trends: Teacher Planning Time


This month we dug into our database to see how much planning time teachers get to prepare lessons, collaborate with colleagues, and engage in professional development. Here's what we found.