Introduction to professional pay systems

Alternative compensation? Professional pay? Professional compensation? ATPPS? Q Comp? Those are among the many names for this complex initiative that seeks to change the way teachers are compensated for their work.

The Minnesota Legislature in July 2005 established the framework for Alternative Teacher Professional Pay Systems. The final legislation differed substantially from initial proposals, including "Q Comp."

The goal of Alternative Teacher Professional Pay Systems in Minnesota is better-designed schools that support improved teaching and learning. The law provides for districts and teachers to jointly design, negotiate, and ratify the changes necessary to reach that goal and the rewards for teachers who attain mutually agreed-upon objectives.

ATPPS is not:

  • An effort to pay teachers less
  • A plan to shift money from one segment and give it to another


  • A way to help attract and keep the best and brightest new teachers through competitive professional salaries
  • A system that recognizes teachers for their professional expertise
  • An opportunity to fundamentally change the way teachers do their work and the way students learn

The legislation requires, among other things:

  • Goals jointly developed by teachers and districts for students, teachers, the district and the sites
  • Learning goals based on data and relevant to the individual school
  • Professional development designed and delivered by teachers during the school day
  • Teacher involvement in determining an appropriate teacher performance evaluation system

Challenges created by the law include funding that covers less than half of Minnesota's students and inconsistent approval processes. Education Minnesota assists locals in their efforts through regional trainings for district and local ATPPS teams.