Overlooked Reform: Differentiating Teacher Workload

The hard truth: teaching jobs are not created equally. Because this reality isn’t acknowledged in practice when it comes to school staffing and teacher workload, millions of students are being taught by educators who are overwhelmed, overworked, and dissatisfied.

The hard truth: teaching jobs are not created equally. Because this reality isn’t acknowledged in practice when it comes to school staffing and teacher workload, millions of students are being taught by educators who are overwhelmed, overworked, and dissatisfied.

<p\>There is plenty of talk about creating equitable conditions for student learning, but discussions rarely focus on differentiating work loads for teachers in schools serving underpriveliged students. This is one of many overlooked areas for sustainable, positive school reform.

 

For teachers to sustain success in educating students, it’s not about pay; it’s about working conditions. Merit-pay for educators, tied to test scores and other professional accomplishments and engagement, misses the boat. The false assumptions associated with merit-pay are numerous. This isn’t to say teacher compensation is up-to-par. It isn’t.

But I know few educators who would willingly transfer to the most needy and underperforming schools for simply an increase in pay. Acknowledging that teachers working with, say, 90% of their students on free and reduced lunch shouldn’t be expected to have the same amount of kids, class preps, and demands as teachers working with more well-off kids is a conversation we must have.

Here’s one idea to start giving educators a better chance for sustained success in reaching students: Teacher workload should correlate to free-reduced population in public schools or a related metric that takes into account the additional challenges of teaching at-risk or underprivileged students.

I know this is just a start of a greater conversation. What else is missing from this discussion/issue?

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