NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Cities, States Vie For Teachers

January 7, 2000

At least 20 states have begun to pay bonuses of up to $6,000 a year -- sometimes for several years -- to teachers who pass a new, rigorous national certification test. And some states are offering much more generous incentives to lure teachers.

  • California's Gov. Gray Davis (D), for example, has announced a plan to offer candidates who agree to teach in low-performing schools $10,000 loans for buying a house, $30,000 bonuses for attaining advanced certification and $11,000 to repay college loans -- without estimating how much this would cost his state's taxpayers.
  • On the same day, New York's Gov. George Pataki called upon lawmakers there to subsidize tuition for college students who commit to teaching in selected public schools.
  • Two years ago, Baltimore offered special education teachers starting salaries equivalent to those of teachers with four years' experience -- as well as reduced rate mortgages and reimbursement of moving expenses.
  • Several years ago, El Paso, Texas, lured new math teachers with $2,000 signing bonuses -- which it was forced to do after Dallas began a similar effort.

Teachers are in short supply all across the country due to a number of factors -- including a nearly unprecedented wave of retirements, expanding career opportunities in other sectors of the economy and efforts to reduce class sizes.

Source: Jacques Steinberg, "A Bidding War for Teachers Spreads from Coast to Coast," New York Times, January 7, 2000.


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