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SUPPORT FOR NEW-TEACHER EXCELLENCE: New Reports Say Financial Incentives and Induction Programs are Successful Tools to Help Meet the Highly Qualified Teacher Challenge

Two recent reports argue that financial incentives and induction programs are successful in both recruiting new teachers and retaining veteran educators. These reports will be addressed at the Alliance/AASA teacher forum on December 12.

The first report, Higher Pay in Hard-to-Staff Schools: The Case for Financial Incentives, was written by Cynthia Prince at the American Association of School Administrators. It argues that “changing the way teachers are paid and offering targeted financial incentives” is a vital part of any effort to attract and retain highly qualified teaches in the nation’s lowest performing school districts.” The report examines the use of targeted salary increases, bonuses, housing incentives, tuition assistance, and federal tax incentives to attract candidates for hard-to-fill positions. Specifically, the report recommends federal tax credits as one of the most effective incentives to attract and retain teachers.

Prince argues that targeted incentives are necessary because of difficulties that are unique to high-poverty school districts. Her report cites fewer applications for vacancies, disproportionately more uncertified teachers, and higher rates of teacher and administrator turnover as examples. In the report, she points to evidence that suggests that targeted financial incentives can increase the relative attractiveness of jobs in these hard-to-staff schools and can overcome teacher reluctance to work there.

Another report to be released at the Alliance/AASA Teacher forum examines state incentive programs that are already in place for recruiting teachers. The paper, State Incentive Programs for Recruiting Teachers: Are They Effective in Reducing Shortages?, points to new data that indicates that state spending on teacher incentives has jumped to almost $217 million. Released by the National Association of State Boards of Education, the report presents an overview of the teacher shortage problem and examines incentive programs that states have developed in response.

Overall, the report argues that while incentive programs certainly have a place in the recruitment of teachers, states need to do more work to find out where the greatest need lies and address it by using incentives in a very precise matter.

New National Campaign to Improve Public Education

Public Education Network has launched a new national campaign to encourage Americans to demand high-quality investments in improving public education, especially for poor and minority students. Initially, the Web campaign will focus on high quality teachers because “Given the vital role teachers play in the lives of young people, [GiveKidsGoodSchools.com thinks] the best way to start is to put a good teacher in every classroom.” The Web site gives visitors the opportunity to send an e-mail to their governor asking him to help put a good teacher in every classroom.

Visit the Web site and send a message to your governor at: http://www.givekidsgoodschools.com/

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