Teacher Pay and Career Paths in an Opportunity Culture

Note: an updated version of this guide and summary can be found here.

Joyce Career report coverA Practical Policy Guide

Full Guide [pdf] | Summary [pdf]

To help all students reach their potential, district leaders must ensure that every student has consistent access to excellent teaching. Opportunity Culture compensation and career path structures help make that possible, and this guide shows how.

Teacher Pay and Career Paths in an Opportunity Culture: A Practical Policy Guide shows how districts can design teacher career paths that will keep excellent teachers in the classroom and extend their reach to more students, for more pay, within budget. When districts design these paths, they create opportunities for excellent teachers to reach more students directly and by leading teaching teams, for solid teachers to contribute to excellence immediately, and for all teachers to receive the support and development they deserve.

The full guide walks a district through the organizing steps and details of designing Opportunity Culture pay and career paths that fit its needs and values. It includes an overview of key Opportunity Culture concepts, graphics and explanations detailing new school models and roles, and assistance for evaluating the impact of different compensation design choices. The steps guide districts to ensuring financial sustainability and designing a complete career lattice.

The summary provides a brief overview and graphics that show how pay and career paths work at a glance.

Typical “career advancement” possibilities push teachers out of the classroom into administration or into roles that rarely offer real authority, accountability for student outcomes, or permanent and substantial pay supplements. In contrast, the figure below shows the possibilities when districts and schools design career paths and compensation structures to support an Opportunity Culture, in which all teachers have opportunities that build their professional competence and maximize their positive impact on student learning.

See the Pay Teachers More web page for detailed financial analyses of school models and the Teacher Career Paths web page for more materials helping educators and policymakers.

Keep Learning

For Families with Language Barriers, What Worked in Remote Learning?

By Paola Gilliam, December 8, 2021 Lea esta viñeta en español. Many Opportunity Culture districts serve significant numbers of students whose families speak primarily Spanish. How did the spring 2020 shift to remote learning affect them, and did they have any new...