Higher Pay in Hard-to-Staff Schools: The Case for Financial Incentives

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Idaho legislators passed Senate Bill in , which will implement performance pay for teachers. The state will distribute funding to local districts from salary-based apportionment and discretionary funds. The law requires each local board of trustees to develop a plan for awarding pay for performance shares to its certified employees.

Higher Pay in Hard-to-Staff Schools - Cynthia D Prince - Häftad () | Bokus

With this bill, Idaho now has the most comprehensive statewide pay-for-performance plan in the country. This legislation is all about recognizing and rewarding our great teachers for the outstanding work they do every day. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell also announced in July his state will begin a pilot program involving performance pay in 25 schools during the school year. Unlike Florida, however, the Missouri legislature failed to act on House Bill Still, it provided a clear message that alternatives to the standard single-salary pay schedule are gaining traction.

Fifty Minnesota school districts and 54 charter schools implemented Q Comp during the school year. A report by the National Council on Teacher Quality found 35 states do not require student achievement data to be a component of teacher evaluations.

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Not all of the 19 states that support performance pay have programs that recognize appropriate uses and limitations. Only 16 states explicitly connect performance pay to evidence of student achievement, and only 14 states ensure that all teachers are able to participate, whether or not they have students who take standardized tests. One of the most critical, yet often overlooked, questions about teacher performance pay is whether any evidence shows it results in higher student achievement.

The question has no clear answer, only contradictory findings that further muddy the policy waters. Over three years, nearly math teachers in grades in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools participated in the Project on Incentives in Teaching. The other half, assigned to a control group, were not eligible for these bonuses. Students of teachers randomly assigned to the group eligible for bonuses did not outperform students whose teachers were assigned to the control group, the research showed. You have to start with a base of strong, competitive professional salaries and then reward teachers for professional growth and offer mentoring, support and solid feedback to help them improve their craft.

Two other university studies, however, have yielded different results. Research at the University of Arkansas examined a merit pay pilot program in Little Rock. The study concluded students of teachers who were eligible for performance bonuses performed at a higher academic level than those in the control group. Finally, two economics professors at the University of Florida analyzed surveys from more than schools nationwide and concluded students perform better on tests when their teachers are given merit pay increases.

Despite contradictory research findings, the NEA maintains no evidence exists linking performance pay with higher student achievement. In the debate over teacher compensation, two extreme viewpoints seem to stand out. While some call for a drastic shift to a model basing teacher pay, in part, on the performance of their students, others prefer to retain the single salary schedule.


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These evaluations, Raabe contends, will allow administrators to determine whether teachers early in their careers can be successful and what types of professional development experienced teachers need to become more successful. But he also indicated NEA will not support performance pay in which student test scores are used to determine teacher pay.

A system that defines what teacher effectiveness is. A system that has performance standards that people understand. Given current political trends and public opinion, an evolution to a new merit-based compensation model appears inevitable in many states and local school districts. Yet teacher organizations are firmly entrenched in their opposition to any teacher pay system that is linked to student test scores.

Studies examining the relationship of teacher performance pay and student achievement are inconclusive. Many also are concerned that a reward system based on student assessment might result in more episodes of teacher cheating, such as scandals that have emerged in recent years.

Performance-based pay systems also could have other unintended consequences, such as increased competition among teachers for limited bonus funding as well as the possibility of favoritism or bias on teacher evaluations conducted by administrators. Nevertheless, it appears there is room for teacher groups and state policymakers to agree on a system that provides incentives for teaching excellence based on multiple criteria, including valid and credible evaluations.

Both NEA and AFT concur existing pay systems can be improved, but contend compensation should not be based on student test data. The U. Department of Education, meanwhile, has put a great deal of effort into luring school districts and states to enact merit-pay systems as part of its Race to the Top competition.

Temporary Compliance

The pioneering example in teacher performance pay does not involve a state educational system, rather a local one. In November , Denver voters approved a tax increase to fund ProComp. Nearly 60 percent of members of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association also approved the switch to merit-based pay. Initially, teachers employed by Denver Public Schools had the option to opt in or out of the system. All teachers hired after were required to join. Specifically, the system is divided into four components that allow teachers to increase their compensation.

P1-K incentive benefit for every public school teacher

One is referred to as the Market Incentive Component. Educators who work in positions that are considered difficult to fill receive a 3 percent bonus. Hard-to-staff assignments are classified as those where the supply of licensed professionals is low and the turnover rate is high.


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  4. An evaluation of ProComp conducted by the University of Colorado at Boulder, released in , concludes the compensation system is paying off. Some of the findings include an increase in mathematics and reading achievement. The program may have helped attract more effective teachers to the district and increased retention rates in hard-to-staff schools. The study also concludes:. Press Room Events Donate Contact.

    Why Incentive Plans Cannot Work

    Dec 1, by Marni Bromberg. So this year, district leaders have a series of ideas they believe will help showcase the positive aspects of these schools to prospective teachers: Share what you saw. Collaboration with demonstration schools. The district has already identified a set of schools that serve large populations of low-income students and students of color and are getting excellent results. By providing venues for collaboration between demonstration and hard-to-staff schools, district leaders hope a subset of teachers at demonstration schools will apply for open positions at hard-to-staff schools.

    Lab schools. Photo credit: Bill Grove. Related Content. Think Again! Press Room Events Donate Contact.

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    Dec 1, by Marni Bromberg. So this year, district leaders have a series of ideas they believe will help showcase the positive aspects of these schools to prospective teachers: Share what you saw. Collaboration with demonstration schools. The district has already identified a set of schools that serve large populations of low-income students and students of color and are getting excellent results. By providing venues for collaboration between demonstration and hard-to-staff schools, district leaders hope a subset of teachers at demonstration schools will apply for open positions at hard-to-staff schools.

    Lab schools. Photo credit: Bill Grove.

    Related Content. Think Again!

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