A milestone achievement has occurred in Baltimore: teachers with the recently negotiated contract will receive merit-based pay. This is a striking difference from the status quo of government and union employees where seniority is all that is needed to make an inflated salary. Benefits can already be seen from the new contract with the teachers union:
Between October and December of last year, 584 teachers applied for teaching positions, more than double the 268 applicants who sought positions in the district over the same three-month period in 2009.
The surplus of applicants allows the school district to be selective and employ qualified and effective teachers. The ability to receive pay raises and benefits from doing a job well done is appealing to job seekers:
“The contract is drawing teachers, because despite the tone of the national debate on teacher effectiveness, most teachers want to be judged as professionals,” Baltimore City schools CEO Alonso said.
“I think many teachers resent having ineffective teachers around them, because they make the job harder for everyone,” he said. “I think competition is good. The greater the competition, the higher the standards.”
Creating competition is foreign to union members, but it will make significant improvements to the education system and communities. No longer will teachers be able to go through motions and receive pay increases for just showing up. The step increases in pay and retirement benefits based on seniority have had crippling effects on states. States with steep deficits from unsustainable pensions need to adapt to this policy.
Merit-based pay benefits the students, teachers, and the community. Clearly, the advantage for teachers is the ability to achieve pay raises from ability and success, and the system incentivizes quality teaching. Students are taught by the finest teachers because of increased competition for positions, in return receiving higher quality of education. Having elite teachers providing students with superior education provides the community with more productive and contributing members of society.
Image credit: themoabird’s flickr photostream.