Teachers

When the evaluator walked into her classroom, Alisa Bledsoe was teaching her sixth grade science class about the difference between a food chain and a food web. 

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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.

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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.