Saturday, March 03, 2018

Bill granting more local control to teacher pay passes House committee

Caldwell Legislation Seeks to Increase Teacher Salaries Through Local Control

OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation that would increase teacher pay by reforming the state’s minimum salary schedule has passed the House Common Education Committee 9 to 4.

House Bill 3539, authored by Rep. Chad Caldwell, grants local school boards more authority in determining teacher pay while removing government obstacles to higher teacher pay.  Under the proposed measure, sole authority for setting teacher salaries would rest with the locally elected school board while allowing a competitive marketplace to occur.

“I have consistently voted for teacher pay raises during my time in the House, however with the failures of these measures I am hoping to increase teacher salaries through other methods,” said Rep. Caldwell, R-Enid. “Increasing teacher salaries is an absolute must, but the decision of how much to pay our teachers should be made by local school boards taking into account local conditions, not by politicians in Oklahoma City.

“Viewed nationally, our current system is failing our teachers. This bill will help accomplish the goal of increasing teacher pay throughout Oklahoma,” said Caldwell.  “Abandoning the antiquated salary schedule at the state level would free districts to pursue a human resources strategy that meets their local needs and adequately recognizes a teacher’s value to their community.”

No state with a minimum salary schedule ranks inside the top 10 nationally in teachers’ pay, while all of the bottom five states have one.  Nothing in the bill would prohibit local districts from establishing their own minimum salary schedule or maintaining the existing salary schedule.

The legislation is now ready to be heard on the House floor.


Troy Fullerton said...

This is, perhaps, the biggest bunch of baloney I have heard since a con man called and told me I had just won the National Clearing House Sweepstakes (if I would agree to "pre-pay" my portion of the taxes). So let me get this straight, Mr. Caldwell...I'm a veteran teacher. And you're going to arrange for me to receive a raise by telling school districts that they "are free to" pay me more than the base salary paid to beginning teachers, but that they don't have to. As long as I stay in my current position, then I get to keep my salary, but if I ever accept a different position...well, "good luck!" Do I really have to tell you what's going to happen? Common sense, anyone:

a. They'll be getting rid of the veteran teachers, using every excuse at their disposal, in order to hire brand new teachers to whom they can pay entry level wages.

b. They'll take all the money they're saving and spend it on bloated administration staff, including six-digit salaries for superintendents and superfluous administration.

c. They'll hire more coaches (with part-time classroom teaching assignments) so they can increase their athletic offerings and bolster their coaching staff.

d. They'll start a bunch of new departments and feel-good initiatives: a "Department of This" and a "Department of That" (with paid directors).

IN SHORT, Mr. Caldwell, NONE of that money is EVER going to go to teachers. We already see this: Rather than offer a competitive salary that woud attract talented teaching staff, these districts say that they can't find certified faculty for their positions and ask for "emergency certifications" for unqualified staff. Meanwhile, they squander the money they DO have on bloated administration, athletics, and superfluous side-initiatives.