Governor’s Applauds Recommendations for Improving Teacher Compensation System
Senate advances legislation to approve recommendations and make way for final steps in process
Dover, DE – Governor Markell lauded recommendations he received today from the Committee to Advance Educator Compensation and Careers (CAECC), which was established by legislation last year to help develop a plan that addresses the Governor’s goals to better attract, retain, and support Delaware’s educators. The report issued by the CAECC was the basis for legislation, House Joint Resolution 7, passed by the House Thursday. The bill would accept the recommendations and set up a process to finalize an updated educator compensation plan that would apply to new teachers and others who choose to join.
“I applaud the legislators, educators, administrators, and others who served on and provided critical feedback to the Committee,” said Governor Markell, who has advocated for this effort during his State of the State address. “Their work represents a critical step toward a compensation system that makes Delaware educator salaries more competitive with our neighbors and rewards teachers for helping their peers to best support our students.
“Moving forward, we now have an unprecedented opportunity to have more talented young people choose to teach in Delaware and to give them, and all of our educators, meaningful opportunities to advance their careers while continuing to do great work in the classroom. With the passage of HJR 7, I am hopeful we will have the chance to finish the job and address these complicated but vital issues.”
The Committee was charged with providing educators with a meaningful career pathway, including higher starting salaries and recognition for working with high-needs students, as well as significant leadership opportunities for career advancement that keeps talented educators in the classroom.
After extensive discussion at 16 committee meetings, as well as multiple educator working group sessions and six town halls across the state, the report presented to the Governor today includes proposals to meet the goals laid out by the Governor and General Assembly, including:
- A new career pathway that improves upon the system of “steps” that currently provides a small yearly salary increase. The report proposes a compressed scale, with large salary increases in years 4, 7, 10, and 13 as teachers reach new levels in the profession. This aligns compensation, certification, and professional designation to more clearly recognize an educator’s progression through career milestones.
- A starting salary of $33,000 from the state (excluding local district share of salaries), which represents an increase of up to $5,000 compared to the current system.
- The opportunity for up to 15 percent of educators to earn teacher leader roles through which outstanding educators receive a $5,000 salary boost for taking on additional responsibilities, and more for senior teacher leader roles, with more roles made available in high-need schools.
- Benefits for teachers who receive National Board Certification, including a $1,500 stipend for teaching in a high-needs school.
- Saving money to help pay for new policies through the elimination of salary increases for graduate school credits that are attained prior to earning a higher degree. Educators who earn a Master’s or Ph.D. degree will still have the opportunity to earn more compared to those with a Bachelor’s degree.
- The option to opt-in to the current system for current educators, who will have the choice to remain on the current salary scale.
“The involvement of DSEA members in focus groups and town hall sessions made all the difference in keeping this project on the right track,” said Delaware State Education Association President Frederika Jenner. “We look forward to involving educators in further developing plans that are beneficial, and respectful of the profession.”
HJR 7, which unanimously passed the House Thursday and heads to the Senate, provides for the CAECC to continue to meet through next year with the assistance of two new educator subcommittees which will work on further details, including:
- Details of Teacher Leader and Senior Teacher Leader roles, such as how leaders would be selected and what responsibilities they could accept to address the greatest challenges facing teachers and students.
- Ways to identify high needs schools and students to ensure more leader roles are made available in schools serving more disadvantaged youth.
- Additional feedback on full recommendations
Comments from sponsors of HJR 7, who have also served on the CAECC:
“I am looking forward to the group continuing its work to improve the way we compensate our educators so they are paid appropriately for the invaluable job they do preparing our children for the future,” said Rep. Kim Williams, D-Newport, Stanton, who is the prime sponsor of HJR 7.
“Attracting and retaining people dedicated to improving the quality of our public school is essential to making our education system the best it can be,” said State Rep. Harvey Kenton, R-Milford.
“The only way we can guarantee great public schools in Delaware is by guaranteeing we have great teachers,” said Sen. David Sokola, D-Newark, who chairs the Senate Education Committee. “That means we have to make sure that we’re paying them at a level that’s commensurate with their talents, with opportunities for them to earn extra pay for the extra responsibilities they assume. This is an issue we’ve been working on for some time now, and I’m happy to say we are making progress, especially when it comes to creating a meaningful career pathway for advancement. I’m confident the Committee created by this resolution will build on that work and ultimately formulate a comprehensive plan that is workable and helps our schools thrive over the long-term.”
“We’ve come up with some draft proposals and now the next step is to hear once again from the educators themselves; the ones who have a stake in the final decision,” said Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown. “We look forward to continuing to work with educators, getting their feedback and ideas, and forge policies that the educators and other key stakeholders can be happy with.”