TQB: Teacher Quality Bulletin

Dallas pay for performance initiative producing positive results

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NCTQ has long supported teacher pay for performance in school districts. Better pay can encourage the best teachers to stay in the classroom and prompt talented people to enter the profession knowing they will be rewarded for their achievements.

In 2015, Dallas became the largest school district to adopt performance pay instead of a traditional salary schedule. Results out this month reveal that three years into this program, the district has achieved impressive gains.

The district is reporting improvement in teacher retention, keeping 86 percent of its teachers compared to 83 percent statewide, but most critically, with the most effective teachers having the highest retention rates. Meanwhile, half of those at the lowest effectiveness rating left--also key.

In addition, the district has been able to reduce the number of schools with a low rating from the state from 43 down to 14 campuses. And Dallas' graduation rate has grown significantly, from 83 percent to 88 percent between 2012 and 2017.

While it is unlikely that all these achievements can be attributed to teacher pay reforms, we see signs of smoke, even though we cannot yet say there is fire.