Seattle Times takes education accountability a step further, would link superintendent’s compensation to student outcomes

The Seattle Times editorial board offers a provocative proposal.

THE Seattle School Board wants to make sure Seattle’s superintendent is the highest paid in the state and that the pay is comparable to cities like San Francisco and Boston as a way to attract top talent to the job.

But the school board should be more focused on measuring outcomes and rewarding exceptional performance in those areas.

The editorial reviews progress under Superintendent Larry Nyland’s leadership, the challenges faced by the district, and the superintendent’s compensation. 

…he must provide the leadership needed to improve student outcomes. High-school-graduation rates rose last year, but too many students still graduate unprepared for college or a career. Schools continue to provide uneven quality of instruction.

…Being largest in the state doesn’t mean Seattle is the best nor the best if could be. The district must aim higher.

Nyland should use the next few years to prove the district is making a worthy investment in him.

As we wrote in our foundation report, linking teacher compensation and student outcomes has been a major issue, nationally and in Washington state.

Washington must take steps to ensure that the very best teachers are in every classroom, every day. The state can meet that challenge by continuing to assess teacher performance, providing opportunities for current teachers to enhance their skills, making assessment of student outcomes a factor in personnel evaluation, and ensuring principals have authority to hire the best teachers.

Yet lawmakers failed to adopt legislation in 2014 that would have required statewide test scores to be considered as part of teacher evaluations. As a result, Washington was the first state to lose its No Child Left Behind waiver, which means that districts lost control over how to spend approximately $40 million in federal funds.

The Times would go a step further (though they’re not proposing clear metrics for superintendent evaluation). Intriguing.