The state should give local districts authority over pay scales.
To determine teachers' salaries, Alabama provides local districts with a Minimum Salary Schedule. Because the salary schedule provided by the state is based on teachers' years of experience and earned advanced degrees, the state in effect mandates how districts will pay teachers.
Salary Schedule 2012 http://www.alsde.edu/html/sections/documents.asp?section=68&footer=sections
Give districts flexibility to determine their own pay structure and scales.
While Alabama may find it appropriate to articulate the starting salary that a teacher should be paid, it should not require districts to adhere to a state-dictated salary schedule.
Discourage districts from tying compensation to advanced degrees.
The inclusion of advanced degrees in the state schedule is particularly problematic, as this sends a clear message to both districts and teachers that attaining such degrees is desirable and should be rewarded; exhaustive research has shown unequivocally that advanced degrees do not have an impact on teacher effectiveness. Further, by establishing a guideline for teacher salaries that includes advanced degrees, the state limits the ability of districts to structure their pay scale in ways that do emphasize teacher effectiveness.
Discourage salary schedules that imply that teachers with the most experience are the most effective.
Similarly, Alabama's salary schedule sends a message to districts that the highest step on the pay scale should be determined solely by seniority.
Alabama recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state noted that in 1996 the Alabama legislature decided to pay teachers with valid certifications for the highest degree earned from a regionally accredited college or university, regardless of whether the higher degree leads to an advanced certificate. Thus, the pay increase that used to be based on advanced degrees in the teacher's area of assignment is no longer a factor. The state added that the Minimum Salary Schedule for Teachers is adopted by the Alabama legislature as a component of the annual budget for education.