Thursday, April 5, 2007

Pay for Performance

Principals in the Pittsburgh (PA) Public Schools will be on pay-for-performance contracts at the start of next school year, according to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The district won't necessarily eliminate across-the-board raises given to principals most years regardless of their performance, but it wants to offer an incentive system that will reward hard work, boost student achievement, and increase the number of effective principals in disadvantaged schools.

In Washington state, the Legislature is considering similar provisions for teachers, offering bonuses to its best educators who teach in high poverty, low achieving schools. Approximately $7.5 million has been set aside in Gov. Gregoire's budget for the program which would reward Nationally Board Certified Teachers.

Currently, board certified teachers get a $3,500 annual bonus. The governor's plan changes the bonus to a flat amount equal to 10 percent of the teacher's salary. It then adds a $5,000 if the teacher works in a school with 70 percent or more of the students qualify for free-and-reduced lunches. There's another $5K bonus if the teachers are certified in math and science.

The House has a nearly identical plan in its budget; the Senate does not include the provision for math and science.

There's little debate that attracting high quality teachers to struggling schools can boost achievement. But what implications does that have for administrators?

And should principals be given the same consideration?

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