Summer School Tradition to Wane?

For years on end, teachers in Tennessee and elsewhere have enrolled in college during the summer to pursue postgraduate degrees that ensured a raise in pay.

Not anymore. At least not a guaranteed raise in pay.

Gov. Bill Haslam's education department, with the concurrence of the state Board of Education, has removed the requirement that local boards of education award pay raises for graduate degrees. The program lets a local school system adopt other criteria for a two-tiered pay system, but argues there is no research that proves that advanced degrees improve teacher performance.

By law, a teacher's salary can't be reduced. The new rules will apply to future teacher pay raises. School boards are encouraged to adopt performance raises based on scores or on improved dropout rates. The state does not prohibit a school board giving raises for graduate degrees, it has just removed the requirement that it do so.

The state has already removed teacher bargaining rights, made tenure harder to achieve, and made test scores part of the evaluation process.