We want to commend State Superintendent Cade Brumley for his proposal to the MFP task force and BESE that would recommend the legislature give local Louisiana school boards the opportunity to use an extra $1,000 to incentivize high-performing teachers. While the Governor’s proposal of a $2,000 raise across the board is the right move along a path to bring our state up to the average teacher salary of other southern states, it doesn’t address the need to reward the state’s very best teachers for the exceptional progress they have helped their students achieve.
Dr. Brumley’s proposal would allow local districts to use the additional $1,000 for highly effective educators, teachers in critical areas, and in schools where at least 85% of students are economically disadvantaged. These are thoughtful and appropriate categories, but at the Baton Rouge Alliance for Students Action, we would urge a proposal that goes even farther to focus on highly-effective teachers. In Baton Rouge, our non-selective admissions schools, which are most likely those that have received a rating of C through F from the state for their performance on tests measuring students’ grade-level knowledge, will meet all of these criteria. That will give latitude to our local school board to take the politically expedient route of giving the raise out to every staff member in those schools, instead of what Dr. Brumley clearly intended: which is rewarding and incentivizing the best of our city’s education leaders.
Ultimately, BESE will make a decision about what the request to the Legislature for state education funding will comprise. For the best of our educators, and the students lucky enough to benefit from their knowledge and skills, we hope BESE board members take a hyper-local view and design a request that would truly show appreciation for those Baton Rouge teachers who are really getting the job done right.