On top of many policymakers’ wish lists is increased teacher pay. Particular attention also has focused on mechanisms such as merit pay to target rewards to our most effective teachers and keep them in the classroom. Yet resources are constrained. Raising pay for some or all teachers inevitably takes funds away from some other element of schooling. With little likelihood of surplus education funding in the foreseeable future, many pay overhauls have stalled or been scrapped entirely.
Marguerite Roza and Amanda Warco discuss a way forward that would yield higher pay without fiscal sacrifice, new analysis shows: increasing the class sizes of only the most effective teachers. Targeted increases in class size would require fewer teachers overall and the savings from the reduced number of teachers could be repurposed as bonuses for the teachers taking on larger classes. It would also, importantly, improve net student learning as more students would be taught by the most effective teachers.