June 1, 2006
Texas' new system of incentive pay for teachers -- signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry as part of the school-reform bill yesterday -- faces an array of immediate challenges, says the Dallas Morning News. Consider what lies ahead as qualifying schools statewide seek pieces of a $100 million pie this coming school year:
- An incentive-pay program has never been tried on this scale.
- Independent, up-to-date research is scant on the few existing state and local efforts.
- Local school officials don't know yet which campuses qualify for Texas' incentive program, restricted in the first year to high-performing, low-income schools.
- The reaction of teacher groups has ranged from hostile to highly skeptical as the pay-for-performance concept has evolved into law.
Educators should be encouraged, though, that local proposals to reward low-income schools must be mapped out at the campus level and require written endorsement of teachers, says the News.
It's vital to avoid hastily drawn, vague or poorly written proposals that could end up undermining a promising program. Top state officials have an obligation to provide clear guidance to districts on what objective measures are appropriate to use, says the News.
Source: Editorial, "Rewarding Teachers: Help new state program live up to its promise," Dallas Morning News, June 1, 2006.
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