D.C. is eyeing a plan to use money and other incentives to help lure the city's best teachers into the poorest performing schools. So far, the proposal has the support of the schools chancellor and other educators.
City officials said research shows teacher quality is the most important factor in raising student achievement. But in D.C. and many other cities, the teachers rated as highly effective often work at high-performing schools. The challenge is convincing these teachers to move to low-performing schools, where educators say their work will have a greater impact.
And the answer, according to D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown, may be a package of incentives, starting with a $10,000 bonus.
"The bill is about more than money; it's about housing incentives, tax credit incentives; its about doing everything we can to retain our teachers that are highly effective in these low performing schools and to attract highly effective teachers to these high need areas," Brown said.
But as the council, under the leadership of Chairman Brown, moves forward with this plan and other education bills, such as a measure requiring students to apply to college, there is concern that the council is overstepping its bounds by setting curriculum, or in the case of incentive packages, altering compensation agreements.
Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson says the city's compensation agreement required a lot of sit-down discussions with teachers and with the union before it was implemented: "My hope is that we will continue that instead of just mandating."
She says she will support Chairman Brown's plan, in part, because he worked with her regarding the specifics before introducing the measure. She also says the city can accomplish these goals without legislation.
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