A teacher's salary could be increased by the type of advanced degrees obtained by the educator under a bill moving with little opposition through the Indiana General Assembly.
But the real fate of Senate Bill 498 rests with one factor: How much do Hoosiers value experience and education in determining salaries for teachers?
Under current law, school districts must take into account a combination of four factors in determining salary ranges.
Those include staff evaluations; instructional leadership roles; academic needs of students and the number of years of experience along with additional degrees or credit hours.
The last factor accounts for a maximum of 33 percent of the salary increase.
Under Senate Bill 498, that cap would be removed, allowing school districts to distribute increases as they wish, while including the four factors.
This proposal gives districts great latitude in encouraging their educators to obtain advanced degrees and continuing education.
A similar bill initiated in the House would have increased salaries based on education and experience but, in the long run, would have decreased — as a way to balance — the amount of funding available for less-experienced teachers without a degree.
That bill died in committee.
Maybe that's a good sign that the legislature is hoping to not reward experience but provide incentives for younger teachers.
Under Senate Bill 498, teachers who are rated "effective" or "highly effective" are eligible for salary boosts and a performance grant award. Teachers in their first two years of teaching are also eligible even if they are rated "improvement necessary" or "ineffective."
As it progresses into the House, this bill can encourage teachers for experience and education.
It's the same incentives we expect of Indiana's young adults as they move through the job market and their careers.