The Next Generation of Differentiated Compensation: What Next?

For many years, discussions of teacher compensation have been dominated by two positions. On the one hand, school districts and unions have generally supported a single schedule in which teacher salaries were determined solely by length of service and level of completed education. Such a system has the virtues of simplicity and ease of implementation for administrators, and the virtues of predictability and even-handedness for teachers. On the other hand, education reformers have revived an old idea, merit pay, which is based on an economic theory that conceives of teachers as market women and men who rationally calculate how they can maximize their income. Get the financial incentives right, this thinking goes, and teachers will improve their performance. In recent years, however, new thinking on teacher compensation has emerged, with a focus on the differentiation of compensation on the basis of differentiated roles in schools and classrooms. In this thinking, teachers could be paid more for assuming positions such as master teacher, which demand special knowledge and skills and involve additional responsibilities. This panel will examine the terrain of teacher compensation from a number of different perspectives, offering their recommendations on what a good compensation policy would entail.


Moderator: Clifford Janey, Senior Research Scholar, Boston University, School of Education; member, Albert Shanker Institute Board of Directors

Rob Weil, Director of Field Programs, Educational Issues, American Federation of Teachers

Shimon Waronker, Head Master, The New American Academy

Richard Murnane, Juliana W. and William Foss Thompson Research Professor of Education and Society

Matthew Springer, Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Education; Director, NCPI, Department of Leadership, Policy & Organizations, Vanderbit, Peabody College


  For the dates and topics of the 2014-2015 Conversation Series, go HERE. Sponsored by the Albert Shanker Institute and the American Federation of Teachers, this conversation series is designed to engender lively and informative discussions on important educational issues. We deliberately invite speakers with diverse perspectives, including views other than those of the AFT and the Albert Shanker Institute. What is important is that these participants are committed to genuine engagement with each other.