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Gov. Bryant Wants Merit Based Pay Raises for Teachers

By Daniel Cherry | Published 27 Jul 2012 05:12pm | comments
Governor Phil Bryant wants to do away with automatic raises for Mississippi teachers in favor of a new system. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how, under the Governor's plan, educators would have to earn their raises based on performance.
Under the current system, Mississippi teachers get raises based on seniority, but if Governor Phil Bryant wants to change that. Bryant is looking to start up a system in which only the highest performing teachers get raises.
"If you know that your salary will increase if you improve, certainly you're going to be drawn to improvement. That's simple human nature. We use it in business very effectively every day. We need to use that business model in education."
The proposal comes after a study, commissioned by Governor Bryant, and put together by the Research and Curriculum Unit at Mississippi State University. Julie Jordan, Director of the unit, says although pay for Mississippi teachers is already among the lowest in the nation, the plan will lead to more successful schools.
"We tend to be at the bottom of most comparisons, but this, hopefully, this is designed, not to move the whole scale. It's designed to pay those teachers who are doing the best job for our students, more."
The study suggests paying for the raises by eliminating the step pay increases, pooling that money, and giving it to the most successful teachers. William Crockett, Superintendent of Mound Bayou Schools, is in favor of giving incentives, but he's concerned about taking raises away from teachers.
"We are kind of underpaid anyway, and any incentive that you can give a good teacher then I think we should be about doing that. But I stress, it shouldn't be one of those unfunded mandates."
The Clarksdale, Gulfport, Lamar County and Rankin County districts have expressed interest in taking part in a trial program.




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