June 21, 2023

Minnesota Districts Not Providing Differentiated Compensation Teachers Seek

Educators for Excellence’s Regional Report Cards Reveal that Minneapolis and St. Paul Public Schools Are Not Providing the Differentiated Compensation Teachers Ask for In Recent Survey

MINNEAPOLIS (June 21, 2023) – Following up on the release of its 6th annual Voices from the Classroom national teacher survey, Educators for Excellence (E4E), a teacher-led advocacy organization, published a series of regional report cards, highlighting the policies and programs that states and cities have adopted, or are lacking, to support their local teachers. These report cards show that while the majority of public school teachers nationwide support differentiated compensation for high performers and teachers who work in hard-to-staff schools or subject areas, neither Minneapolis Public Schools nor St. Paul Public Schools offers any of these incentives.

Voices from the Classroom 2023 found that more than 60% of teachers favor providing financial incentives to teachers whose students show significant academic gains, 87% favor providing incentives to teachers in hard-to-staff subject areas, and 93% favor them for teachers working in hard-to-staff schools.

While the state of Minnesota requires that performance be considered as a factor in determining teacher pay, both St. Paul and Minneapolis Public Schools comply with this requirement by withholding salary increases from poor performers, rather than rewarding high performers or teachers who work in schools or subject areas that are difficult to staff.

Additionally, while Minneapolis Public Schools participates in the optional state-level “Q-Comp” program, through which districts receive state funding to differentiate pay for teachers, it does not leverage the funds to provide meaningful stipends to high-performers or teachers in hard-to-staff schools or subject areas.

“All teachers deserve to be paid more than they currently are, but simply raising salaries across the board is not enough.” said E4E-Minnesota Executive Director, Paula Cole. “Hard to staff schools lose many of their most experienced teachers each year. We need greater pay incentives and equitable distribution of resources, in order to provide students with the stability that they need.

Teachers of color in particular voice support for differentiated compensation, with 80% of teachers of color supporting incentives for high performers. In Minneapolis and St. Paul Public Schools, students of color make up 70 percent of the K-12 student body, but only 17% of the teacher workforce, indicating a need to better recruit teachers of color using policies they support, such as differentiated compensation.

“We all know that a teachers’ work is never done. If we added up all of the hours teachers spend preparing, many of us would be making less than minimum wage,” said Susan Providence, third grade teacher at Battle Creek Elementary School in St. Paul. “Any way that teachers can be shown that they are being appreciated for the work they’re putting in, we need to pursue. That means both raising all teachers’ salaries and differentiating compensation based on work location and performance.”

Compensation, both in terms of base salary and differentiation, is an issue that is generally guided by a district’s teachers’ union contract. Active engagement by teachers with their unions is critical to ensuring their priorities are reflected in contract negotiations. E4E-Minnesota is helping teachers to better engage with their union contracts while advocating for the priorities most relevant to how they are situated within their professional context. This could include, but is not limited to, pay differentiation and funding more inclusive classrooms for special education students.

“I think often, teachers don’t know what the union is doing until a negotiation occurs. During the negotiation process, more teachers get involved. Other than that, teachers don’t generally attend meetings,” said Providence. “It’s on teachers to participate, but it’s on union leaders to give teachers the access they need to be able to do that.”


About Voices from the Classroom Regional Report Cards

Voices from the Classroom is a national teacher survey conducted annually by Educators for Excellence to understand teachers’ beliefs and opinions about the current state of education in America. The 2023 survey asked 1,000 teachers from across the nation, plus an oversample of 300 teachers of color, their opinions on key classroom issues, including curricula, assessments, teacher workloads, teacher salaries, and more.

This year, E4E created Report Cards for each of the organization’s six chapters that tie the survey results to the local landscape. These regional Report Cards provide in-depth insights into the policies and programs that states and cities have adopted, or are lacking, to support their local teachers, including: instructional materials and curricula, time and teaching, and more.

About Educators for Excellence (E4E)

Founded by public school teachers, Educators for Excellence is a growing movement of more than 35,000 educators, united around a common set of values and principles for improving student learning and elevating the teaching profession. We work together to identify issues that impact our schools, create solutions to these challenges, and advocate for policies and programs that give all students access to a quality education.

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Minnesota Districts Not Providing Differentiated Compensation Teachers Seek