NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Performance Pay Pioneers

February 11, 2015

Accountability has long been touted as a solution to poorly performing schools, and new data from a school district in Colorado that is using performance based compensation for its teachers and principals is seeing the results. The district in question in Harrison School District 2, and Benjamin DeGrow, senior education policy analyst at the Independence Institute, explains the positive changes. 

Harrison's effectiveness and results program allow for teachers to move up nine levels of pay, ranging from $35,000 to $90,000 in annual salary based on performance and student achievement.  Principals are overwhelming in favor of the program, and a majority of teachers support, reports DeGrow.  Since the implementation of the program, the district has gone from academic watch to a strong accreditation status, district assessment scores rose steadily, and the average ACT score increased from 16.8 to 19.0.  The District, which once lagged the state graduation, average now matches it. 

Source: Benjamin DeGrow, "Performance Pay Pioneers: Harrison's 'Effectiveness and Results' Raises the Bar," Independence Institute, January 2015.


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