The people charged with planning the merger of Memphis and Shelby County Schools settled on an organizational structure for the new district last night.
The 21-member Transition Planning Commission was actually scheduled to vote on an organizational structure last week. Two options were on the table.
The first was a “unified district.” In a unified district, the primary decision-making power rests with the superintendent, which is similar to the way both Memphis and Shelby County Schools are run right now.
Education reformers want to use more data to evaluate and pay teachers, and they’re making headway in Tennessee. Statewide teachers face a more involved evaluation this year, but that evaluation is making some teachers uncomfortable.
The way teacher pay works in Memphis and across U.S. is simple—teachers come in at a base salary (in Memphis it’s about $40,000 a year), and they get a raise every year, and teachers with master’s degrees and PhDs earn a little more. Supporters of this system say it is fair and equitable, but some education reformers and economists think the way we pay teachers in the U.S. is inefficient, and nationwide that’s where most of the money in public education goes.
One of the main concerns about the merged Shelby County school district is its size. Ramon Cortines has been superintendent of school districts of all sizes, including New York City and Los Angeles—the two largest in the country. And he’s got some advice.