Representatives of two teacher unions in Iowa agree that the legislature needs to kick in more money for teacher pay — but they disagree on the system used to measure the effectiveness of teachers. Jim Hawkins, the executive director of the Professional Educators of Iowa, says the two main surveys he’s reviewed show Iowa has dropped down the list when it comes to national teacher pay rankings. He says the teachers that are doing their jobs are underpaid, and something needs to be done to fairly compensate teachers.
The Iowa State Education Association, the state’s largest teacher union, just got back results from a question in a survey that asked Iowans about teacher pay. I-S-E-A president, Linda Nelson, says 63-percent of the people felt Iowa teaches should be paid more. She says the survey results says to her that Iowans are embarrassed that teachers rank in the top 10 in every major assessment of students, but the teachers are paid at a level that’s 41st in the nation.
Hawkins of P-E-I says there needs to be a way to link the desire for smaller class sizes to the evaluation of teachers in determining how much teachers are paid. He says every teacher should be evaluated on how much the students gain in knowledge from each teacher.
Hawkins says his group’s survey has found that teachers think the evaluation system passed by the legislature requires too much “busy work.” Hawkins says the teachers are required to make portfolios, and he says the way those are done, they end up being scrapbooks. And Hawkins says he hears complaints that they take too much time.
Nelson of the I-S-E-A says the evaluation system is okay. She says members of the I-S-E-A know that evaluation should be a part of their professional life. Nelson says they’re living up to the standard that’s required by law. Nelson says the portfolios and other evaluations are acceptable.
Nelson says some people might not like to do additional paperwork to demonstrate that they’re doing good work, but she says it’s the law, so they say, “yeah, we’ll do that.” Nelson says the teachers are holding up their end of the deal and it’s time for lawmakers to follow through on their end and allocate more money for teacher salaries.