Seattle finds itself in the final stages of adopting new teacher contracts, with the possibility of a plan that follows in Denver?s footsteps even if it doesn?t quite fill them. Included for the first time in a Seattle contract agreement are a series of perks for teachers who opt to work in schools that the district designates as "high priority." Teachers in high-priority schools would be safe from districtwide lay-offs for a year and could snag bonuses for filling teaching positions that are historically hard to staff. Down the line there's the possibility of more bonuses after three years on the job.
It would seem that all teachers agreeing to teach in these high-priority schools would be eligible for the bonuses whether they're effective or simply contributing to the cozy temperature in the classroom. Better to call such plans Endurance Bonuses. Districts designing these programs by half measure need to be aware that they could be setting themselves up for paying more money for the same results. With some heroic exceptions, what retention and recruitment these schools manage is often attributable to the fact that many teachers have no other employment options.