Joining with the National Education Association and American Association of School Administrators, NSBA is offering guidance for school leaders who plan to apply for grants under the federal Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) or try other incentive compensation programs.
The 11 guiding principles center on collaboration and support, between school boards, administrators, and teachers representatives, at the local level. If a local district decides to create an incentive plan as part of its school improvement efforts, such a plan should be in line with the district’s mission and strategic plan, and should be integrated into other components including evaluations and training.
School-wide plans often have the best results and are easiest to implement, according to the guidelines.
It was important that the national organizations work together to offer recommendations, said NSBA Executive Director Anne L. Bryant. She added, “A successful incentive compensation plan must foster collaboration with a broad base of support among teachers, school staff, administrators, school board members, and within the community.”
On May 20, the U.S. Department of Education announced that $437 million in TIF grants would be available to support projects that reward teachers, principals and other school personnel who improve student achievement. Requirements for the program include fair and transparent assessments that use multiple ways to measure growth, a high level of local support and involvement, and a plan for financial sustainability.
“As superintendent of Chicago Public Schools, I learned firsthand how TIF grants can prompt districts to create ways to reward success and drive reform,” Duncan said at the announcement at a Maryland elementary school. “We want to scale up this promising program so we can recognize great teachers, principals and other school personnel who are working hard and raising student achievement.”
Applications for the program are due July 6, and the Education Department says it plans to award 40 to 80 grants totaling $5 million to $10 million each.
The guidelines include:
- School boards, administrators, and unions/associations should review various models of incentive compensation plans including research about their effectiveness before developing a plan at the local level.
- School boards, administrators, and unions/associations should work together to build ongoing community and stakeholder support for both the incentive compensation plan as well as the necessary funding.
- School boards, administrators, and unions/associations should work together to develop and implement the plan utilizing collective bargaining where it exists.
- In the implementation of the incentive compensation plan, teachers should be provided assistance including time, curriculum, and professional development to increase student achievement.
- The foundation of incentive compensation plans shall be professional-level base salaries.
- Funding for the plan must be adequate and sustainable.
- The plan and its requirements should be transparent, easily understood, and uniformly implemented.
- A detailed implementation plan, with agreed-upon benchmarks and timelines, should be developed.
- The incentive compensation plan should be based on a multi-factor approach (teacher evaluations, student performance growth, specific goals set by the teacher and/or management, increased responsibilities, assessments of student learning, etc.) that is research-based and improves student achievement.
- All employees who meet the criteria for the incentive compensation plan should be compensated accordingly, and incentive compensation plans should foster collaboration not competition.
- Evaluations, if a factor in incentive compensation plans, should be fair, of high quality and rigorous and take into account multiple measures of student progress.