Education Policy Group Uncovers Drastic Differences Between Teacher Contracts

A TALE OF TWO [MIDWEST] CITIES: There may be only 600 miles from one midwest city to the other, but the communities are worlds apart when it comes to attitudes towards teachers. At least that appears to be the story around teacher contracts in Detroit and Des Moines schools. The National Council on Teacher Quality reports that Detroit has resorted to extreme austerity measures in a non-negotiated teacher contract with the Detroit Federation of Teachers. Among other measures, it suspends the teacher reimbursement program and eliminates compensation for PD that happens outside the work day. While we sympathize with the dire economic conditions in the Motor City, aren't teachers teaching during the work day?

Meanwhile in Des Moines, district administrators are experimenting with an alternative contract for first-year teachers. In short, the contract offers a $2 to $3K annual salary bump in exchange for an eight-year commitment. Teachers may opt for the standard contract in the fourth year, or begin pursuing a Master's degree which the district will reimburse if they complete during that the initial eight-year commitment.

In a nation that spans 3,000 miles from east to west (or west to east on EdSurge's terms!), those two examples are a sobering reminder of the fiscal realities faced by  many districts and states. What are your thoughts? Is Detroit right? Des Moines wrong? Would you accept the alternative contract?

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