Message to Washington State: Make sure there's not a hole in your pocketbook

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The state of Washington has spent a good deal of money to incentivize teachers to earn National Board certification, and then offered additional bonuses to try to persuade them to move into high-poverty schools—but unfortunately, according to a new report from the Center on Reinventing Public Education, the state isn't getting much bang for its buck.

Even though the number of Board certified teachers has tripled in the last three years, these prized teachers are not making their way into "challenging" schools—those designated as high poverty—as the legislation had intended. In fact, it will cost the state another $100 million over the next two years to keep the bonuses for NBCTs going, shelling out a $5,000 carrot for earning board certification, and then dangling an extra $5,000 on top of the certification bonus for teaching in a high-needs school.

But the results on getting these teachers to move is pretty bleak:

  • Less than 1 percent of Board teachers switched from low to high poverty schools each year since 2007.

  • In the past two years, 23 Board teachers moved to teach in challenging schools, only to be negated by the departure of 27 of their colleagues leaving said schools.

  • The bonuses don't appear to be effective at keeping Board teachers at these schools. There is virtually no difference in the retention rate between teachers with or without Board certification.