National education experts are dismayed. If merit pay can’t work in Denver, “future initiatives are destined to fail,” said Matthew Springer, director of the National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.
The breakdown stems from a philosophical disagreement between the school district and the union.
The district is offering large increases in incentive pay. But the biggest rewards will go to early- and midcareer teachers — and to those willing to take risks by working in impoverished schools or taking jobs few others want, such as teaching middle-school math. Yearly bonuses for such work would nearly triple, to about $3,000.
The union is all for boosting bonuses but also wants an across-the-board pay increase. Most crucially, union leadership objects to proposed changes that would hold down the salaries of veteran teachers to free more money for novices.
Mediation is scheduled to begin Wednesday. If it fails, the union could begin job actions just as the Democratic National Convention comes to town.
Much more on Denver incentive pay here.
It will be interesting if similar issues arise in Madison’s next teacher contract.