Apr 5, 2012

Bringing Effective Teachers To Struggling Schools (Or, Yet Another Way To Ignore Poverty)

Rebecca Sibilia is the Director of Fiscal Strategy for StudentsFirst. She is a former state education Chief Financial Officer, and has worked with Congress, Venture Capital Funds, and community based organizations to create, fund and implement school choice programs.

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) (hyperlinked to: http://ies.ed.gov/) released a new study today on the US Department of Education's Talent Transfer Initiative (TTI) implemented in five states. This was an important pilot program related to techniques that districts can use to bring effective teachers to traditionally hard to staff schools. In this program, seven districts within five states participated in a pilot that offered $20,000 over two years to the district's most highly effective teachers willing to transfer to its lowest performing schools. The figure below illustrates the hypotheses regarding the impact of the program:
The report has three critical findings:
  1. Pay-based incentives work to attract quality teachers to low performing schools;

  2. The incentive program provided additional experienced and effective educators to low-performing schools that had historically relied on first year teachers to fill over one-fifth of all open positions.; and

  3. These teachers were more likely to provide mentoring to other teachers in their new school.
All students deserve a highly effective teacher. This is why StudentsFirst strongly supports the use of pay-based incentives to reward qualified teachers, particularly those willing to take on additional responsibility, such as serving in hard-to-staff schools, or in hard-to-staff subjects. The fact that this program is found to be successful in that mission should be a lesson to policymakers and district administrators alike--elevating the teaching profession through teacher salary incentives can better equalize the quality of education for all of our students.

Stay tuned for the next phase of the report, which will study the student achievement results of the program!

Click here for the full report: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20124051/pdf/20124051.pdf

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