In Eagle County, a teacher pay program continues to evolve, in many ways similar to the slow progress of ProComp, but without all the drama. In no small part because of the small size of the school district (less than 500 teachers), the pay plan is clear about its intentions, which include increased student achievement, increased teacher retention, and better (not just more) professional development:
“They started out having 120 minutes of professional development each week, and now it’s down to about 70 minutes, which is an improvement because otherwise it’s just too much time away from the classroom,” she said. “And the way the time was spent has changed as well, because it used to be a black and white, set agenda, and now it’s structured around student achievement, so it better meets the needs of kids.”
What is particularly interesting here is that the goals of both administrators and teachers seem to be much better aligned. So when the director of HR says “Our system isn’t perfect, and we’re still learning, but the important thing is that we’re not turning our back to questions or criticisms—we’re evaluating everything on an ongoing basis going forward”— one gets the sense that this is a real dialogue between teachers and administrators.
Missing from the article is any mention of union representation. I continue to feel that, increasingly, teacher’s unions are not representing the full spectrum of their members. The teacher’s vote to approve the DPS proposal for ProComp — which came under intense attack from the DCTA including talk of a strike — was eventually overwhelmingly approved by 77%. I wonder what might have happened had the discussion around ProComp taken place without DCTA acting as an intermediary.