National Education Association president Dennis Van Roekel thinks the standard “step and lane” salary scale for teachers is antiquated. “Let’s get rid of step and lane. I don’t like it,” he said at an Education Writers Association event in Chicago last month.
Before you get too excited about his stance, Van Roekel believes that that it is school administrators and state policy-makers who insist on the current salary scale because it is the cheapest way to pay a large group of workers. He wants to get rid of it because it forces teachers to “work for peanuts.” Van Roekel said performance pay systems usually fail because they run out of money.
This is a fascinating view of the world, considering how protective union negotiators are of the current salary schedule, and how NEA itself always meets with fierce resistance from its own activists whenever it floats any changes to its current policy.
NEA Resolution F-10 still states, “The National Education Association believes that the single salary schedule is the most transparent and equitable system for compensating education employees.” And Resolution F-9 still states, “salary schedules should… be based on preparation, academic degrees, experience, professional growth, responsibilities, and full length of service.”
Perhaps Van Roekel is entering full Shanker mode, calling for revolutionary changes he knows will never happen, in part because of his own organization.