Teachers who work at schools in the suburbs with robust PTAs and tons of parental support and involvement are fortunate; They have students that in many cases are more supported at home, and therefore the discipline issues are not as significant and the overall work environment is better for these teachers.
Room moms are available, volunteers show up, and overall the environment is better. It is for this reason that most teachers start out in the inner-city, work 5-6 years, then move to a less diverse and less poverty stricken location, and then at the 10-13 year mark, when enough seniority is under these teachers’ belts, the move is made to the low poverty low diversity schools with great support from the community—and this is where many teachers will finish out their careers.
I find no fault with this, other than the fact that we are sometimes beat up about our teacher churn rate at the inner city schools and the lower percentage of veteran teachers at the average high poverty school.
So what could be done to entice more teachers to stay at the poverty stricken, ethnically diverse inner city schools?
I recently brought up the idea of developing a revised pay-scale for new hires that rewards teachers who stay in the inner city schools, with bumps in pay at the 5 year mark, 10 year mark, and 15 years and thereafter. I’d like to see the pay tied to schools with high rates of “free lunch” (perhaps 90% or higher). The scales would be revenue neutral, meaning that at the ten year mark, a teacher at the suburban school would be making less than a teacher who spent ten years in the high poverty schools. And the delta between the High poverty track teacher pay and the Suburban teacher track pay would end up, at year 25, being about $7,000-$10,000.
I think this sort of a scenario would encourage veterans to stay in the inner city schools longer in their careers—which may help us drive higher achievement at these schools if we can stabilize the extreme churn rates and keep some stability.
I intend to discuss this concept at our upcoming board workshop to see if there is any support for such a concept.