Summer Leadership Training

Joan Husted 2014 SLT

Former teacher and HSTA executive director was a keynote speaker at the 2014 HSTA Summer Leadership Training for members leaders from all chapters.  In a keynote speech on July 24, she connected HSTA’s vision with the power of collective action.

Joan also referenced a recent article she read this morning:


Teacher Pay Starts Low, Grows Slowly, Is Generally Awful, Report Says
By Ross Brenneman on July 23, 2014 8:47 PM

Which states pay their experienced teachers the worst?

A new report by the Center for American Progress argues that teachers not only have bad starting pay in many states, but also that teachers are unlikely to see major salary gains even after several years of teaching.

The study by the Washington-based liberal think tank collected information from every state except Hawaii (not enough data) to look at the average teacher’s salary in each state 10 years after commencing teaching, what the highest possible salary was, and how many teachers had second jobs.

South Dakota pays its mid-career teachers the worst of any state, the authors found, with an average 10-year salary of just $33,100, and the salary schedule maxes out at the lowest of any state, too, at $43,600. The state’s median household income? $49,000. Even adjusting for cost of living, it’s low.

Growth in teacher salaries is especially bad when comparing the U.S. to other developed countries:

In only four states—Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York—can teachers max out on the salary schedule above $80,000. New York offers the highest such rate in the country, at $90,700.

“The bottom line is that mid- and late-career teachers are not earning what they deserve, nor are they able to gain the salaries that support a middle-class existence,” the report said.

Bright Spots, Depending on Whom You Ask

The report lists two hopes for better teacher salaries: Performance pay and PD-based pay. The former practice relies on tying salary increases and bonuses to improvement in student test scores, a practice that many teachers generally revile and deem to be flawed.

The report singles out D.C.‘s IMPACTplus program, which offers potentially huge rewards to “effective” teachers working in the district’s low-income schools, where an annual bonus could reach up to $25,000. (That is just shy of the average starting salary for a South Dakota teacher.) That promotion would certainly sit well with TNTP, which released a report July 18 again calling for more such performance-pay systems.

The IMPACT system, though, while being further advanced than many state teacher-evaluation systems, also drew scrutiny when, in December 2013, 44 teachers’ evaluations turned out to be incorrectly calculated, resulting in the accidental firing of one of those teachers. At least one study last year, however, found the IMPACT system had caused achievement gains.

Professional learning-based pay pegs a teacher’s salary to the fervor with which teachers develop their skills. The CAP report specifically mentions the Portland, Ore., system that rewards teachers for taking PD classes.


Salary alone does not a happy teacher make, as the report acknowledges. Many teachers also wish for greater classroom autonomy, and, as a separate CAP report found in January, South Dakota offers that in spades. That goes for North Dakota as well, though North Dakota also offers both better starting teacher pay and a higher ceiling.

(There’s no level-of-autonomy-per-dollar-paid statistic, but a cursory review of both reports would suggest that D.C. and New York would lead the pack. Rhode Island had the best 10-year salary, but also reported a relatively low amount of autonomy.)

And of course there’s school climate, opportunities to advance, access to professional development, the students themselves, etc., to consider when weighing what makes a teacher happy. But having a roof and food and some cash left over for Netflix are probably up there in the rankings.

One other note: The report does a lot of salary comparison between teachers and other career choices:

In 11 states, the average base salary for a teacher with 10 years of experience and a bachelor’s degree is merely $39,673—less than a carpenter’s national average salary.*

It strikes me as a little unnecessary, like an invitation to pit people of different careers against each other, when many would probably agree with a broader assertion that a lot of people aren’t getting paid enough to get by, much less to do their jobs.

*Pity the shop teachers, who must have no good options for their skills.

Member leaders are scheduled for three intensive days of workshops and trainings.  They will use part of their time working on chapter planning for the year.

Every education decision is a political decision.

Part of our collective action is support of friends of education. 
See why teachers are voting for David Ige

The average teacher is focused on the students in their classroom.  Getting involved in political action does not come naturally and it tests teachers’  comfort zones. However, when we elect candidates who support teachers and public education we have a better chance of improving student learning and helping all children in Hawaii maximize their potential.

Find out more about why every education decision is a political decision and HSTA’s recommended candidates by watching President Wil Okabe’s video message on VIMEO at

GOTV:  Get out the vote!

Please remind family and friends that there are many ways to make sure their votes count.

If a registered voter requested an absentee ballot, they should watch the mail for their ballots now.

Upcoming . . .

In Person Early Walk-In Voting Locations

Primary: July 28 to August 7, 2014

General: October 21 to November 1, 2014

Please see the schedule of EARLY WALK-IN voting locations on the Office of Elections Web site by going to

QUESTIONS? Contact the State Office of Elections or your County Clerk’s Office:

  Office of Elections: (808) 453-8683
  County of Hawaii: (808) 961-8277
  County of Maui: (808) 270-7749
  County of Kauai: (808) 241-4800
  City and County of Honolulu: (808) 768-3800

A list of teacher-recommended candidates was mailed to member homes.  You may also view the listing by logging in:

HSTA David Uchiyama
Teachers are part of the community.  Hawaii Tourism Authority Vice President David Uchiyama shared conditions affecting Hawaii’s economy and the role of education in preparing children for our future.