Teacher Pay Raise Passes Senate, State Board Requests Accountability Waivers

The teacher pay raise bill has passed the full Senate on a unanimous vote, with every senator present signing on as a coauthor of the bill – an impressive show of support for the incredible work our teachers are doing for our children. The bill will now go to the House.

The bill provides:

  • $37,000 starting salary for teachers with two years of experience and less ($1,110 raise)
  • $1,000 pay raise for certified teachers with three or more years’ experience
  • $1,000 pay raise for assistant teachers

All increases are effective July 1, 2021. Senate Education Chair Dennis DeBar has acknowledged that the pay raise is less than he would prefer and that he expects more teacher pay raises in the coming years as state revenue stabilizes following the pandemic.

Please join us in thanking Chairman DeBar and the full Senate for their support of our teachers. We’ll keep you posted as the bill works its way through the process. 

Also today, the State Board of Education voted to submit to the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) waiver requests associated with accountability for the 2020-2021 school year. Current USDE policy requires that state tests be administered this year, though board chair Dr. Jason Dean acknowledged that the policy could change with the new administration. The waivers that the State Board has voted to submit thus far provide that:

  • third-graders will take the third-grade reading assessment for the 2020-2021 school year but will not be required to achieve a passing score in order to be promoted to grade four
  • high school students will be required to take end-of-course assessments for 2020-2021, but they will not be required to achieve a passing score in order to graduate
  • statewide assessments will be administered for the 2020-2021 school year, but schools and districts will not be assigned A-F letter grades for their performance on those measures; instead, they will retain their most recent letter grades earned in the 2018-2019 school year

Board members asked if schools and districts will suffer the punitive measures associated with low accountability ratings, given that they will not have an opportunity to improve their ratings this year. The MDE staff clarified that they will calculate and report the results of all statewide assessments administered in the 2020-2021 school year. They indicated that they will bring forward at the February State Board of Education meeting additional recommendations to mitigate consequences typically linked to low accountability ratings.

The State Board also discussed the proposed rules change to the Statewide Accountability Model associated with the addition of the WorkKeys assessment as a career-readiness indicator but tabled that decision until next month.

There is lots to keep up with in education legislation and policy, but we are on it! Keep watching your inbox and our social media pages for important updates. Together, we’ve got this!

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