Dallas ISD unveils 'pay for performance' proposal



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Posted on May 21, 2014 at 5:45 PM

DALLAS -- For years, Dallas Independent School District teachers have been paid based on experience and education. DISD hopes to add a third category: Performance.

On Thursday, trustees will vote on the creation of the Teacher Excellence Initiative.

Under the new system, teachers would be given a grade out of 100 based on three factors:

  • Performance in the classroom would be worth 50 percent of the grade
  • Sstudent achievement is worth 35 percent
  • Results from a student survey would represent the final 15 percent

While there are a number of variables — like education and experience — here’s a look at how the numbers break down:

  • A teacher deemed "unsatisfactory" could earn a salary as little as $45,000 annually.
  • A teacher deemed "proficient" could earn between $54,000 and $65,000.
  • The scale tops at “master.” A teacher in that category could earn as much as $90,000 per year.

The program is the brainchild of DISD Superintendent Mike Miles, who implemented a similar performance-based pay system while working in Colorado.

“While no system will ever be able to completely capture everything a teacher does to support his or her students and help them succeed on their academic journey, the TEI proposal represents a well-reasoned, thoughtful approach to measuring the impact that teachers have on their student,” Miles said in a statement to News 8.

Stacey Hodge with the non-profit organization Stand for Children has worked to implement pay-for-achievement for years, even trying to get legislation passed at the capitol. She sees the concept as the best way to retain great teachers.

“I think that the rewarding piece is bigger than people realize," Hodge said. "We didn’t get into the business for the compensation, but in order to keep really effective teachers in the classroom, I think the compensation is a piece of this."

Others fear that these will dissuade good teachers from going to low-performing schools.

“Teachers do what they do because the love kids and they want to help educate them and become part of their lives, but if you make it more difficult for them to make a living wage, then people are going to look elsewhere,” said former teacher Becca Ebey.

If passed by trustees, the new evaluation system would launch for the 2014-2015 school year. Salary changes would start the following year.

E-mail srobertson@wfaa.com