6 Ways to Pay All Teachers More–Within Budget

by | October 31, 2013

Our fresh approach to paying teachers more is the basic premise of an Opportunity Culture: Use redesigned jobs and age-appropriate technology to reallocate spending toward what matters most—great teaching. But have you wondered just how that works?

Our new three-page brief, 6 Ways to Pay All Teachers More Within Budget, spells it out for you. With Opportunity Culture models, schools can extend the reach of excellent teachers and the teams they lead to more students, for more pay, within budget (not temporary grants)—making significant pay increases possible for all teachers.

Savings and cost calculations of several models–Multi-Classroom Leadership, Elementary Subject Specialization, Time-Technology Swaps, and the combination at the secondary level of Multi-Classroom Leadership with Time-Technology Swaps–show that schools could pay teachers approximately 20 to 130 percent morewithout increasing class sizes, and within existing budgets. Even when increasing all team teachers’ pay, schools can still pay teacher-leaders approximately 65 to 80 percent more. And beyond that, reallocating other current spending could offer yet another boost to teachers’ pay, beyond what we have demonstrated so far in our Opportunity Culture models.

There are at least six ways that schools using new school models can reallocate spending to pay teachers more, within budget, for serving more students with excellence:

  1. Replace a team-teaching position with a paraprofessional, to save teachers time and enable schedule changes that let teachers collaborate and improve during school hours
  2. Shift some non-classroom teaching specialists back into classrooms in higher-paid “reach” roles
  3. Reallocate other spending that could be better used to pay classroom teams and team leaders more, raising teachers’ pay even more than we have demonstrated so far in our Opportunity Culture models
  4. Reduce new facilities costs by constructing fewer walls for fewer, larger rooms in new schools
  5. Offer some team-teaching roles with shorter work hours, and proportionally lower pay
  6. Increase class sizes slightly (within limits, and by a teacher’s choice), but keep instructional group sizes on par or smaller


Some models do add new costs, for such things as purchasing technology; making facilities and furniture changes in existing schools; transitioning pay discrepancies for some tenured or contract-protected teachers; or obtaining design assistance to choose and tailor reach models. However, in all the Opportunity Culture models, the savings exceed these costs, allowing the substantial pay increases.

Along with sustainably funded, much higher pay, the team-based models also make extra planning, development, and collaboration time possible during the school day—as many as five to 15 extra hours a week.  These teaching teams focus on delivering truly excellent instruction and reaching all students with that excellence, consistently.

See also our newly published short tables showing the increases in Comparing Pay Increases in Extended-Reach Models.

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