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Possible Pay Increase for Maryland Teachers on the Horizon

Schoolgirl rising her hand at geography lessonMaryland teachers may see a pay increase in the future. Increases in teacher salaries, as well as the creation of a statewide career ladder, are among the top recommendations a statewide commission on school funding will make to the legislature.

Additionally, the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, in charge with overseeing a wide range of education issues, will recommend teams of teachers be given greater autonomy. This would mean teachers would spend less time in classrooms and be given more time to collaborate on teaching strategies.

Named after Brit Kirwan, former university chancellor, the Kirwan commission reached broad but tentative consensus on multiple changes in how teachers are recruited, paid, and deployed.

While the commission made no attempt to estimate how much these changes would cost, they did recognize that there would be a hefty price tag to make all these changes in the upcoming months.

Even though half of the public school workforce is made up of teachers, with guidance counselors, nurses, speech therapists, and other administrative making up the other half, Maryland has seen a steep decrease in the number of students studying to be teachers.

Maryland K-12 schools sees 60% of their teachers coming from out of state. Furthermore, half of new teachers decide to leave the profession in the first five years of their career.

“Current salary levels combined with working conditions are having a negative impact on recruitment and retention of teachers,” the revised draft report says.

The pay increases and creation of a career ladder leading to the position of master teacher would be based on teacher performance rather than academic credentials. These are an attempt to bring Maryland in line with best practices seen in other high-performing school systems. However, this would be a significant shift in the state’s policy.

“This is going to take a lot of work to explain to our members,” said Steve Hershkowitz, policy research specialist for Maryland State Education Association.

This proposal would be implemented over a 10-year period. With an ongoing debate over the particulars regarding how this proposal will be funded, the commission has yet to come to a decision about many of the details.

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