The state should give local districts authority over pay scales.
To determine teachers' salaries, South Carolina 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.
District Teacher Salary Schedules 2010-2011 http://ed.sc.gov/agency/Finance-and-Operations/Finance/old/finance/districtinformation/
Give districts flexibility to determine their own pay structure and scales.
While South Carolina 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, South Carolina's salary schedule sends a message to districts that the highest step on the pay scale should be determined solely by seniority.
South Carolina noted that establishing a statewide salary schedule is an important equity issue. Without the requirement to meet at least a base salary, there would be an even greater divide between high and low socioeconomic districts. This requirement helps keep rural and challenged districts competitive for highly effective teachers. The state is exploring alternative salary schedules that would appropriately include experience and educational credential while shifting significant compensation to actual "value-added" performance.
It is unclear how a minimum salary schedule addresses inequities in teacher salaries between high and low socioeconomic districts, since districts with greater resources are still free to exceed those minimums to any extent they choose. NCTQ commends South Carolina for exploring alternatives that can address inequities without indicating that salaries should be based on advanced degrees and years of experience alone. Discouraging districts from basing salaries on advanced degrees would free considerable resources that could be used on more meaningful strategies to recruit and retain effective teachers and address inequities.