A teacher’s worth according to DCSD

I am stumped as to how the DCSD Human Resources Department and Administration came up with this Salary Band (Market Pay) scheme, and why the Board of Education signed off on it as a good idea.

DCSD Market Pay - Salary Bands (click to enlarge)

DCSD Market Pay – Salary Bands

Let’s take a look — A First Grade Teacher will make more than a Second Grade Teacher. Why?

And a Sixth Grade Teacher in a K-6 School will make more than a Sixth Grade Teacher in a 6-8 School. Again, Why?

Why is an Art Teacher at the lowest “band”? My mom was an accomplished artist…does DCSD think her “value” in society doesn’t hold as much merit as an engineer?

And why would a Middle School Social Studies Teacher be at the lowest band? That’s the teacher explaining the importance of the US Constitution. (And those great teachers might even explore the Colorado Constitution. You know, the document the Board ignored when they introduced the illegal voucher program.)

Yes, I’ve heard the Board and Brian Cesare (HR guy from the District) explain that it is a “supply and demand” issue. So, what happens if there is a shortage of High School Librarians next year? Do they then move up to the highest band? And then does the High School Chinese Teacher move down when he or she doesn’t have anyone signed up for the class? Sounds a bit chaotic and hard to manage, if you ask me.

As a parent (or “customer”), I want the BEST Art Teacher, the BEST Science Teacher, and the BEST First Grade Teacher working right next door to the BEST Second Grade Teacher.

These “salary bands” are illogical, and they are insulting to me as a parent…I can’t even imagine how insulting it might be to the teachers out there.

6 thoughts on “A teacher’s worth according to DCSD

  1. These bands also say Chinese is more important than English. Oops! Really?

    But a bigger concern is how these bands take away the Principals’s ability to effectively manage teachers in the best interest of children.

    Some examples:
    What if the Pricipal wants to move a highly effective teacher into a different band to become a Team Leader. Does that excellent teacher drop salary because they are great at their job?

    What if one grade level has more students than another and teachers need to get moved around? Does their salary suffer because of student count?

    What if a large number of students sign up for an English class and not an AP class. Does that teacher get a doc in pay to meet the needs of student choice?

    How does this system (scheme) attract the best teachers? Who would want to work under these bands? Definitely not the BEST educators that the district pretends it is trying to attract. And are these salaries even market competitive in the first place? No.

    Mr. Cesare has no background in Education. Who did he collaborate with to come up with what educator goes in what band? Does he know that a student’s education takes dozens of teachers over a 13 year period working collaboratively for a successful outcome? What research did he use to come up with this plan? The research I have found does not support this system at all. (see Dr. Diane Ravitch)

    I am not willing for our children to be the “guinea pigs for reform” any longer. I am asking that our DAC look into the folly of this salary band plan and make a formal complaint to the Board on behalf of the parents and students they represent. I request as a taxpayer that our BoE no longer put another dime of my money into these destructive “plans” that are not based on sound Educational research. I require that our district leaders get back to putting the children of this district first! Stop using our money and more importantly our children for political motives and some one else making a profit off public education.

  2. Wow, I could go on for days. As a former recruiter for the district, I understand the supply and demand bit. Every year we did not actively recruit most of the positions in the lower band with the exception of the elementary teachers. Conversely, all those positions in the upper band we tried to sign on the spot and there were few if any of those people available. There are a high number of graduates in elementary education every year – but only about 10% ever met our standards. So, yes you may get 100 people apply for a position but less that 10 are exceptional. We always wanted the very best.
    The Middle and High School positions reflect that those are the positions likely to be cut in most districts so there is a large number looking for work. In the case of the librarians there is only one per school and not a lot of movement. I could analyze each band but I am afraid your eyes would glaze over.
    Even in the past the top elementary teachers had several offers – Cherry Creek, Boulder, Aurora and could choose where they wanted to go. This salary band matrix tells me we want the cheapest not the best. Sad.

  3. These salary bands have been the final straw for me. Not only is it grossly insulting, but it will put too much of a financial strain on my me and my family to take such a pay cut. My very first year of teaching was 17 years ago. I was fresh out of college, completely inexperienced, and so green. My salary that year was $25,000. Fast forward 17 years, 1 masters degree, 500 students/families, countless hours sharpening my saw in professional development classes, semesters spent mentoring student teachers, etc, etc, etc. and this board tells me I’m only worth $25,000…what I made as a brand new, inexperienced teacher because of the grade I teach!? I turned down 2 jobs in another district last year because they could only offer incoming teachers 5 years on their pay scale. That would have been a significant pay deduction, and my family and I decided against the move and prayed things would improve in DCSD. Now, with the release of these pay bands I realize I would have actually made more had I taken the job in the other district and gone back to 5 years. 5 years on their pay scale is more than I will make in DCSD as a 3rd grade teacher, ever, according to this pay band. The maximum end of the range shown is less than what a 5th year teacher would make in other districts. That fact made the decision about my next step pretty simple. I’m insulted and heartbroken…to say the least.

  4. Thank you, everyone, for stating everything I’m thinking about the pay bands. I do want to add to what Anne-Marie said about teachers moving grades. First, in the 15 years I’ve had kids in elementary schools, there are teachers who move grades every year. There are various reasons for doing this, including just making adjustments for class dynamic changes, but also because of teachers wanting experience at various grade levels. In order to move into administration, most teachers need experience working with kids in a variety of grade levels. These salary bands will not support teachers who choose that path for advancement. So many problems with this plan. Do you suppose Brian Cesare collaborated with teachers to create this plan? I have my doubts.

  5. I am a parent who raised 3 kids through DCSD schools and I still live in the district. I am a former CFO of a mid-sized corporation. I have also had a lot of HR experience in the corporate world, including the implementation and oversight of market-based pay for performance compensation processes.

    After spending several hours reading through a number of DCSD issue websites and Facebook pages, I have come to the conclusion that many teachers and parents do not understand how market-based pay and salary ranges (bands) work. Perhaps the most critical issue is not that they should not be used in a school environment, but that they have not been properly or adequately explained to the employees. Comments like the one above that suggests that if a teacher moves to another grade they would have to take a pay cut betray the lack of understanding that the bands overlap significantly. Many comments I have read on the various sites reflect the belief that there should be no cap to any pay range. There is no example of any job market in which that assumption is valid.

    The alternatives to a market based pay for performance system tend to lead to lower performance results in the aggregate, no matter what the industry or job. It’s a matter of human behavior. Change is always difficult, even when it may be well-intentioned and thoroughly researched and planned. How well change is implemented is always the most important variable in the success of the change. We will not know the success of this dramatic change for at least a couple years; but the success or failure will certainly be measurable.

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