Big Pay Days in Washington DC Schools Merit System

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Karen Sutton, who teaches Honors English at a Miami high school, was one of the 12.

“For someone to say you did a great job, it’s wonderful,” said Ms. Sutton, 56, who is in her 23rd year of teaching in Miami and has a salary of around $ 55,000. . “But is it affecting the way I teach or whether I continue to teach?” No. I never thought, “If I get a bonus, I will stick it out.” “”

Marta Maria Arrocha, who is 47 and teaches reading to fourth graders, also won $ 25,000, which she described as exhilarating. Yet Ms Arrocha, who has been teaching for nine years, said she “would tend to discourage students who say they want to get into teaching.”

“I’m trying to nitpick – is that really what you want to do? ” she said. “A lot of people despise this job.

Washington, like several other cities that have established merit-based pay programs, initially promoted the plan primarily by emphasizing the best pay a person could earn in a single year: around $ 130,000. per year in salary and performance bonuses. But earning that much is rare, if not impossible – it takes the most experienced teachers, with the most advanced degrees, to perform at their best, something that remains to be achieved.

Mr. Kamras, who helped design the Washington system, said he considered the most important aspect of Impact Plus to be the permanent increases given to outstanding teachers early in their careers, many of whom might otherwise leave. the profession.

Take Mark LaLonde. At 32, he’s in his seventh year as a social studies teacher at a Washington high school. But he lives in Baltimore, where his wife works, and had considered working in Baltimore schools to avoid tedious commutes. But he gave up on the flirtation after being rated “very effective” twice and seeing his salary increase to $ 87,000 from around $ 58,000 last year. He also won a bonus of $ 10,000 for two consecutive years. In Baltimore, the union’s pay scale suggests he would earn in the $ 50,000 range.

Jimmie Roberts, 28 and tutor of slow readers, saw his salary increase to about $ 75,000 in 2011-12, from about $ 52,000 last year, in addition to receiving $ 30,000 in bonuses over two years . The money and recognition, he said, helped dispel the discouragement he had felt at having to work a second job, as a receptionist in a wine bar at night and on weekends, to repay his university loans.


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