Sen. Townsend & Sen. Sokola, & Rep. Scott, & Rep. K. Williams
Sens. Blevins, Bushweller, Hall-Long, Poore, Venables; Reps. Baumbach, Heffernan, Keeley, Miro, Osienski
SENATE BILL NO. 254
AS AMENDED BY
HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1
WHEREAS, the State of Delaware is fortunate to have thousands of dedicated educators who have devoted their careers to the success of our children; and
WHEREAS, our educators are assuming ever-increasing levels of responsibility for the growth of their students and their peers and demonstrating leadership in their classrooms and schools; and
WHEREAS, we value the leadership and the growing commitment of our educators, particularly in serving our highest-need students; and
WHEREAS, we must recognize and reward leadership and provide additional opportunities for career advancement and increased assumption of responsibility to retain our great educators and to compete successfully to attract the next generation of highly qualified educators; and
WHEREAS, Delaware has already recognized the need to develop and invest in alternative educator compensation systems through the work of the Education Salary Schedule Improvement Committee, established by Governor Carper through Executive Order Number 50, which recommended, among other things, that the state provide educators with additional compensation for assuming additional responsibilities in their schools and classrooms; and
WHEREAS, despite the efforts of many policymakers and education stakeholders over the years, Delaware’s current educator compensation system does not reflect what we value most about the work our educators are already doing and limits our ability to compete for talent with our neighboring states; and
WHEREAS, Delaware’s educator compensation system has not been substantially revisited in decades despite a profession and workforce that has evolved considerably in the face of a competitive knowledge economy that is demanding more of our students, educators, and schools; and
WHEREAS, all of our educators deserve a career path that offers meaningful steps on a progression towards mastery, with opportunities for increased pay and responsibility and more opportunities to shape their schools and profession; and
WHEREAS, we must ensure that becoming an educator is attractive relative to other professions that have improved career pathways and expanded opportunities to better compete for talented graduates, especially in light of the fact that the next generation of educators is projected to make up nearly half of the workforce by 2020; and
WHEREAS, there is no more important investment we can make in education than in supporting, retaining, and attracting great educators because a substantial body of research has shown that teacher quality is the single most important school-related factor in our children’s academic success; and
WHEREAS, it is more important than ever that our students are prepared to thrive in an increasingly competitive global economy, and thus it is imperative that key stakeholders in the education community come together to improve educator compensation; and
WHEREAS, a new system should guarantee that current employees retain their rights under the existing system but also provide opportunities for current educators to voluntarily join the new system; and
WHEREAS, a new compensation system should reflect what Delaware values most in its current and future educators, including their contributions to student achievement, leadership of their colleagues, service in high-need schools, and mastery of content; and
WHEREAS, a new system must have the flexibility to adapt to an uncertain future and meet the unique needs of local districts over time; and
WHEREAS, a new system must provide educators with meaningful career pathways; and
WHEREAS, a new system must provide educators with opportunities to serve in leadership roles and to receive additional compensation for assuming additional responsibilities, particularly for serving high-need students; and
WHEREAS, a new system must provide educators who have served in leadership roles with an opportunity to receive significant additional compensation while remaining in the classroom; and
WHEREAS, a new system must increase salaries for educators in their first five years to ensure that we can compete effectively with our neighboring states for talented educators; and
WHEREAS, all affected stakeholders – most importantly educators – should have an opportunity to participate in developing the new compensation system and career pathway; and
WHEREAS, a committee with strong teacher organization representation should be formed to develop the details of an improved compensation system that meets these objectives and is aligned with the parameters set forth in this legislation, taking into consideration input from affected stakeholders; and
WHEREAS, the committee’s consideration of improvements to the compensation system should be designed to produce an improved compensation system and career pathway for all educators;
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. The Committee to Advance Educator Compensation and Careers (hereinafter “Committee”) is hereby established to develop a plan to establish a new compensation structure and career pathway for educators in Delaware (the “Plan”) consistent with the following:
1. The Plan must create a career pathway with few and meaningful steps. The Plan must also specify how educators move along the career pathway, which may be based in part on years of experience, but must otherwise be based on the demonstration of effectiveness and the acceptance of leadership responsibilities.
2. The Plan must establish a number of leadership roles through which educators will receive additional pay for assuming leadership responsibilities. Leadership roles must be open for application from all eligible applicants on a regular basis, and must be allocated by school districts through a selection process that (1) meaningfully engages other educators and (2) does not restrict or prioritize the allocation of leadership roles based on years of work experience or attainment of academic credits or advanced degrees. The Plan shall allocate leadership roles across school districts, but shall guarantee that each school receives at least one such role, and shall provide a greater proportion of leadership roles to high-need schools. It shall also allow school districts flexibility to determine the nature and type of responsibilities required of educators serving in leadership roles, but all such positions must (1) have meaningful adult leadership responsibilities in the areas of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and/or professional development; (2) maintain a meaningful connection to student learning; and (3) have significant responsibility for student growth. The Plan shall also provide that educators serving in leadership roles shall not be assigned additional responsibilities that are not substantially related to their leadership roles and classroom and/or professional obligations.
3. The Plan must establish senior leadership positions for a small sub-set of experienced educators who have previously served in leadership roles and demonstrated the highest level of effectiveness. All senior leadership roles shall be eleven-month positions and shall (1) have significant responsibility for curriculum, instruction, professional development, assessment, and/or school or district leadership; (2) maintain a meaningful connection to student learning; and (3) have significant responsibility for student growth.
4. The Plan must specify the applicability of the new system, which would apply to all educators including but not limited to classroom teachers, specialists, counselors, nurses, and must be mandatory for all newly hired educators. Further, the plan must provide a mechanism and timeline for current educators to opt-in to the new system.
5. The Plan shall determine levels of base pay for educators at all steps in the career pathway. Base salaries for teachers in their first five years shall be commensurate with other districts in the region with which we compete for educators. The Plan shall also provide for significant supplemental pay for educators serving in leadership roles and senior leadership roles. Supplemental pay shall be higher for those educators serving in leadership roles in high-need schools.
6. The Committee shall present the Plan, including a fiscal note and implementing legislation, to the Governor no later than November 15, 2014, so that its recommendations may be considered for inclusion in the Governor’s recommended budget for fiscal year 2016 to be presented to the General Assembly in January 2015.
7. The Committee shall consist of the following members: the President of the Delaware State Education Association (“DSEA”) or her designee; the Executive Director of DSEA or his designee; the Secretary of Education or his designee; the Director of the Office of Management and Budget or her designee; a representative of the Office of the Governor appointed by the Governor; the Chair of the House Education Committee or his designee; the Chair of the Senate Education Committee or his designee; one member of the House of Representatives Minority party appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives in consultation with the House Minority Leader; one member of the Senate Minority party appointed by the Senate Pro Tempore in consultation with the Senate Minority Leader; the Controller General or his designee; the President of the Delaware Chief School Officers Association or his designee; and the President of the State Board of Education or her designee, who shall serve as chair.
8. The Committee shall seek input from other affected stakeholders including, but not limited to, educators, parents, school administrators, local school boards, and higher education representatives. At a minimum, the Committee shall hold a meeting in each county specifically to solicit the input of educators.
9. The Department of Education shall provide staff assistance to the Committee.
Section 2. The Act shall become effective on July 1, 2014.