Sadly, K-12 education all too often focuses on measuring inputs rather than measuring outputs. However, Texas may soon change this archetype. A new proposal in Texas’s state legislature shifts the focus to rewarding school districts with stronger outcomes. In an article on Education Week, staff writer Daarel Burnette II states, “Texas is proposing to, in effect, flip that model on its head by spending more money on districts that meet certain state standards and less money on those that don’t.”
Discovery Institute’s American Center for Transforming Education is attentive to education developments in Texas, as the state’s desire to improve education makes them a good candidate for implementing many of the other education reforms we recommend.
As Don Nielsen points out in his book Every School, “Virtually all states have a salary schedule for their teaching corps. This schedule is usually based upon the teacher’s length of service and the number of degrees the teacher has earned. None of these schedules reward excellence, and there are no promotion ladders that would allow a teacher to earn more based upon excellence in the classroom.”
The proposal is set to reward excellence. Daarel Burnette II writes, “Under the proposal, districts would receive $1,450 more for every student achieving 3rd grade reading proficiency, an amount that would more than double if the student is low income… a district would [also] receive $2,015 more for every high school student who goes on to enroll in college or the military or graduates with a[n] industry-accepted certificate. That amount would also double if the student is low-income.”
Hiring and compensation for teachers should be based on market conditions, as it for other professions. Without this style of compensation system, K-12 education will continue to reward mediocrity and discourage excellence.