New teacher pay models on their way to Maine?


With the defeat of the charter school bill, Maine took a giant step backward in terms of educational innovation, especially with other states stepping up to the plate in response to the Obama administration’s call for the lifting of any caps on the number of charter schools.

There could be some innovative changes coming, though, in the way that Maine’s teachers and administrators are paid.

Though it seems to have gone entirely unnoticed at the time, LD 1277, “An Act to Encourage Alternative Compensaton Models for Teachers and Administrators,” passed both houses of the legislature with a unanimous vote and was signed into law by the governor despite opposition from the public school establishment.

The bill calls on the Maine Department of Education to “review alternative compensation models established in other states,” “prepare and submit an application for federal grant funds from the
federal Teacher Incentive Fund and any other applicable federal program
to develop a state-based alternative compensation grant program,” and then “establish an application process whereby school administrative units
may apply to participate in the alternative compensation grant program.”

What this means is that the state will help interested school districts access federal funding available for the development of alternative teacher compensation systems.  These systems, which we reviewed in not one, but two issue papers last year, use student performance data as one determinant of teacher and administrator pay.

What is the most important sentence in the new law?  This one: “School administrative units must be encouraged to experiment with any number of alternative compensation models.”  So rather than a top-down model designed and run from Augusta, Maine’s school districts are going to be freed to investigate different teacher pay models and try out different approaches.

Maine as a center for educational experimentation and innovation? Who’d a thunk it?