DC’s teacher contract far bolder than ProComp

There is a brief New York Times editorial on the proposed Teacher contract in Washington DC. The core of this plan, as outlined below, is in sharp contrast with Denver’s recent ProComp dispute, which focused on pay, barely touched performance, and did not address tenure. It is also a rare departure for the NYT, which has been cautious on most reforms:

Ms. Rhee has proposed a new approach in which teachers could choose between two employment options. The first would continue the traditional tenure arrangement, under which teachers would be compensated based on their years of experience and educational attainment. Or teachers could choose to give up tenure protection — for the first year of the new contract — and would have to agree to an evaluation of their teaching skills. The teachers who temporarily relinquished tenure, and passed the review, would be rewarded with higher salaries and bonuses that could push their earnings to as high as $130,000 a year. At present, a teacher with a Ph.D. and 21 years of experience makes $87,500 a year. Those who received lower ratings, however, would risk being fired during a probationary year.

How many teachers are willing to sign up for this will be very telling. With 159,000 reported job losses last month, it may be that even one year of unprotected tenure is not worth a substantial increase in salary. However that may say as much about the candidate as the contract.

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