Like most states, North Carolina’s system for paying teachers rewards time of services and qualifications. There are numerous limitations to such a system. Two of the most glaring include basing teacher pay on variables that have nothing to do with how well teachers perform in the classroom and paying mediocre and star teachers the same salary because the current system fails to reward merit.
A recent article by Jacob Vigdor in Education Next chronicles many of the weaknesses of the current teacher pay system in North Carolina. Vigdor makes a strong case for reforming the current system and offerss some suggestions. However what a better system will specifically look like is a question that is still being asked. Those interested in such efforts, might find it helpful to review a new report by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Paying for Results: Examining Incentive Pay in Texas Schools. The report tracks Texas’s path down and similar road and examines the impact of teacher incentive pay plans in four Texas school districts (Lamesa, Houston, Dallas and Austin). The results are most encouraging and include, “higher test scores, higher state accountability rankings, improved teacher morale, and lower teacher turnover.” Definitely worth a closer look.