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Sen. Steve Smith wants to link teacher pay to performance

Sen. Steve Smith (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

Sen. Steve Smith is planning to introduce a bill that would tie performance to pay for K-12 teachers.

Smith, a Republican from Maricopa, said Nov. 7 he is leaning toward a proposal that would measure gains in student achievement over a school year, but he has sent out an email to newspapers around the state and school superintendents to get the word out that he’s seeking ideas from teachers.

Teachers he has spoken with so far don’t want to be judged on a single standardized test, he said.

One idea is that teachers would be evaluated on a percentage of the standardized test score, along with classroom observations, parental input, school and class performances, Smith said.

Andrew Morrill, president of the Arizona Education Association, said Smith hasn’t reached out to him, but he is going to call the senator.

“I think Senator Smith is asking some of the right questions,” Morrill said. “He’s on the right track.”

Smith said he wants to hear from teachers on what criteria they believe are fair and reasonable to be evaluated on and whether the performance pay should be based on a per-student model or the entire classroom.

He also wants to know how physical-education and music teachers should be evaluated.

“The point of this was just to get as much feedback from the state as possible,” Smith said. “You keep hearing all this stuff about they need more classroom dollars and they need smaller classroom sizes, but that’s not really it. The quality of the person at the front of the room is what’s contingent upon your child learning.”

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