Members of the state Task Force on Teacher Leadership and Compensation released their final recommendations, which set a new vision for the teaching profession in Iowa and provide more support and career opportunities than ever before.
The report is the culmination of seven months of consensus-based work by the task force, made up of 25 education stakeholders representing teachers, principals, superintendents, education associations, school boards, the Iowa Department of Education and higher education.
The report will become the centerpiece of the Branstad-Reynolds administration’s education proposal to the Iowa Legislature in 2013, Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass said.
“Great teachers and leaders are the heart and soul of great schools,” Glass said. “This work is about making a difference for Iowa’s students and educators by transforming the teaching profession. We must develop a structure that keeps teachers connected to their craft, creates pathways so that the most effective educators can work with their fellow teachers, and stems the tide of teachers leaving the profession. Right now, there aren’t a lot of ways to move up, so many talented teachers go into administration or leave education completely.”
Glass said recommendations to raise starting salaries, create a residency year for new teachers and provide opportunities for advancement will make the teaching profession more attractive to the best and brightest young people.
“Some of our very best students have told me they don’t consider a career in teaching because it doesn’t provide the levels of starting pay and professional options they crave,” Glass said.
The task force’s recommendations are as follows:
- Create and fund multiple, meaningful and well-designed career pathway opportunities open to all teachers in Iowa.
- Establish a pathway that utilizes the wisdom and expertise of educators who are not currently practicing, including retired teachers.
- Review existing allocations and use these funds strategically to enhance teacher compensation and create leadership opportunities.
- Appropriate new money for the explicit purposes of raising base pay to a competitive level and creating additional leadership opportunities for teachers.
- Establish a Commission on Educator Leadership and Compensation to ensure consistent and successful implementation.
- Collaborate with districts implementing a mechanism for piloting peer assistance and coaching programs.
- Incentivize teachers to teach in locally and state-defined hard-to-staff subjects and high-need schools.
- Build upon existing policy and statute, and provide adequate, sustained funding and implementation support for teacher leadership.
- Set the boundaries of the system, but allow districts to customize.
- Provide time for local planning and implementation inclusive of teachers in the decision-making process.
- Require districts to implement professional development structures aligned with the Iowa Professional Development Model that support each career pathway, and utilize teacher leaders to ensure continuous collaboration on student growth.
- Coordinate the development of teacher leadership pathways with teacher preparation programs.
- Create a residency year for entry into the teaching profession to build a more seamless transition from teacher preparation to practice/employment.
“I’m humbled and inspired by the Iowans on this task force who came together on a proposal that has the power to transform the teaching profession in Iowa,” Glass said.
Glass established the Task Force on Teacher Leadership and Compensation in February to help the state move forward strategically in the areas of teacher leadership roles and compensation issues. It is a component of the education reform recommendations introduced by Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds last January, as well as one of six state task forces created as part of Senate File 2284, the education package adopted by the Iowa Legislature this spring.
Lawmakers directed the task force to develop recommendations that address the responsibilities of apprentice, career, mentor, and master teachers; the use of retired teachers as mentors; strategic use of finite resources; a mechanism to substantially increase the average salaries of teachers who take on leadership roles; and a peer coaching pilot project.
The recommendations are due to the State Board of Education, the Governor’s Office and the Legislature on Monday. This fall, officials from the Iowa Department of Education and the Governor’s Office will hold a series of conversations with educators statewide to hear feedback and to build support for the recommendations.