In his weekly message, Governor Markell highlights efforts to strengthen Delaware’s schools by reforming the State’s teacher compensation system.
We can only strengthen our schools if we attract and retain more great teachers. But saying so is the easy part. To make that a reality requires significant changes to a long established compensation system – a system that offers too little financial support for those entering the profession and only rewards teachers for years of experience and obtaining academic credits and degrees. Legislation passed this year provides an unprecedented opportunity to change the status quo by setting a new framework for teacher salaries. A group is now hammering out details of a plan that will raise starting salaries, while creating leadership opportunities that pay more, especially in high needs schools. If we get it right, we’ll retain more teachers like John Sell, Delaware’s 2013 Teacher of the Year, who left his teaching job at Sussex Tech to become an administrator because it was the only way to move up. And like Delaware State Education Association President Frederica Jenner, who excelled at teaching science at H.B. DuPont for decades, but never had the chance earn more pay despite additional responsibilities she assumed to help her colleagues. This past week, I had the chance to meet with our districts’ teachers of the year about ways the state can better support them. They and so many of their colleagues spend countless hours helping students after school and working to improve lesson plans. They didn’t choose their career for the money, but they deserve a compensation system that respects the work they do. It will mean more great teaching in our schools and better opportunities for our students, and that will keep Delaware moving forward.
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