Ready, shoot, aim is the approach from Rep. Brian Bolduc with LD 817, An Act Concerning Teacher Salaries. If enacted, it would prohibit districts from paying teachers based on performance or productivity of the teacher or their student. Prohibiting employers from paying employees for doing a good job, being productive and achieving goals makes no sense.
This legislation would also outlaw something with potential to transform public education in Maine and enhance the role of teachers in improving student performance.
Banning this opportunity seems hasty when the federal stimulus bill gave states access to millions for education innovation, including merit pay.
Pay for performance for teachers is not a new concept. The Legislature has a chance, through a committee proposed in LD 522 to study teachers’ salaries, to create an innovative compensation model for the state and use the stimulus to help us do it well.
The current teacher salary schedule is archaic in intent and design. A lock-step compensation system is de-motivating and unrealistic. To attract and retain the best teachers, we must recognize that schools will compete with banks, engineering firms, research facilities, etc. for employees. There is a workforce crisis looming ; it is shortsighted to further exacerbate this situation with aimless legislation.
It’s time for Maine to develop a fair compensation system for educators that rewards outstanding performance, improves student learning, is attractive to college graduates, and uses our resources to support our goals for public education in Maine.
LD 817 would stop this.
Peter Geiger, Lewiston
Chairman, Maine Coalition for Excellence in Education

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