OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Teacher merit pay based on evaluations does not get love from Oklahoma lawmakers, but a bonus stipend based on national certification gets bipartisan support in the House.
Republican Mark McBride authored HB2558, which would give a pay bonus stipend from $3,000 to $5,000 depending on the total years of being certified. The bonus would be earned each year on top of the minimum salary for five years.
“I believe in raising the base pay and allowing teachers to have things like this that they can go through to raise their own pay,” said McBride.
The bill passed through the House Appropriations and Budget Education Subcommittee with unanimous bipartisan support.
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is the certification that would be required to earn the stipend.
“I don’t know in the education system how you actually come up with some kind of merit based that that works,” said McBride. “But we can have individual programs like a board certified teacher or other things that give you a bonus, a stipend if you complete their program.”
It takes two to three years to complete your certification.
“It is rigorous, it’s challenging, and it’s rewarding,” said Claudia Swisher.
Swisher is a retired teacher and spent nearly 40 years in Oklahoma classrooms. She said there are four components teachers go through in order to get certified.
Teachers take multiple choice tests and get evaluated in the classroom on video.
After five years, teachers go through a maintenance training which requires additional hours of writing, analysis, and videotaping.
“I know now I have held my practice up to the very highest standard in the nation,” said Swisher, speaking about the certification.
3,128 Oklahoma teachers have received their certification, according to the NBPTS website, and there are 145 candidates in Oklahoma right now.
The bill differs from a proposal by State Superintendent Ryan Walters because his proposal was based on teacher evaluations done in each district.
“Those who know how to play the game, those who know how to suck up to their local administration are the ones who will take advantage of it or will who will see the results of that close relationship they might be maintaining with an administrator,” said Andy Fugate, Democrat from Oklahoma City.
McBride’s HB2558 has bipartisan support because Democrats see it as a more equitable way of rewarding teachers.
“This process is far different because the evaluation and the effort, quite frankly, is being monitored by a third party national organization and a board of individuals who help a teacher become better in the classroom,” said Fugate.