Sunday, 25 May 2014

Who is the most valuable..?

This is an interesting article on different approaches to implementing salaries in organisations.

In public education we are most-definitely beholden to the "civil service method: set narrow pay bands for every level of seniority, and then declare that the only way to get a substantial raise is to get a promotion... [resulting in] everybody gets promoted to a position of incompetence."
As public servants, teachers suffer from the "unspoken assumption that any given person should be paid the minimum amount necessary... The simplest way to calculate that amount is to simply see what the employee could earn elsewhere, and pay ever so slightly more than that." Hence why a common reference point in Enterprise Bargaining Agreements is what other jurisdictions are paying their teachers - governments will invariably aspire to "pay ever so slightly more" than what their neighbouring jurisdictions do their teachers... 

A really interesting concept that moves away from the type of traditional model mentioned above, is the notion of managers earning less money than the people who report to them. "... value is created by talented workers on the front lines, not by middle management..." - ie it is the teachers, who are in classrooms working with students everyday, that have the most direct influence on the quality of student learning and, therefore, are arguably the most valuable workers within the school. Those that are further removed from having this significant influence on a student's learning, are often not as valuable, particularly when compared to the high quality teachers that are making significant impact upon student learning. 
The article cites professional sports teams as an example where the 'front line' workers [ie the players] are indisputably recognised as the most valuable contributors towards the success of the team. I think there are definitely correlations with schools - teachers in classrooms are the ones 'playing the game' each day. 
Given the directness of their influence on improving student learning, perhaps it is classroom teachers who should be the best-rewarded workers within the school, rather than those with broader, but more distant [from student learning] responsibilities...