Education

Nashville Schools May Switch To Merit-Based Pay For Teachers

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Nashville’s Metro school board is considering switching to merit-based pay for teachers using state-mandated evaluations.

The measure was proposed by the office of the director of schools, Jesse Register, and will be voted on Tuesday night by the Metro school board.

Current teachers looking for a pay raise would have to opt-in to the plan, which already applies to all new teachers. Under the merit-based plan, the Tennessee Board of Education will not have to pay teachers more money if they acquire more degrees.

The local teacher’s union, the Metro Nashville Education Association (MNEA), would likely see a loss of membership under this plan. MNEA president Stephen Henry says the union supports merit-based pay, but finds the teacher evaluations to be the “problematic part.”

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Tying salary increases to the system known as the Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model has been largely criticized by educators since its creation three years ago.

The scores are based on evaluations from principals, student test scores, and student improvement from year to year. About 52 percent of Metro teachers are against this method of evaluation.

Supporters say the system is meant to reward good teachers, not punish bad ones.

"We are not suggesting this recommendation because we think that by paying a teacher more that kids' achievement will increase next year," said Katie Cour, the district's executive director of talent strategy. "We want to recognize and reward the teachers in our system, and we don't think our current structure does that."

There is no solid evidence that merit-based pay raises standards among teachers, according to Nick Morrison of Forbes.

Sources: WBIR.com, The Tennessean, Forbes