Paying Teachers What They're Worth

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In a recent Ed Week editorial, the Progressive Policy Institute's Andrew J. Rotherham (also Chair of NCTQ's board), challenges states to rethink their incentive packages for National Board teachers. He argues that these enormously expensive state payouts are not only just a bit beside the point but actually may work against states' duty to Job One--that is, leveling the teacher quality field in order to narrow the achievement gap.

"Because such incentives are not targeted at these problems in practice, most state incentives work at cross purposes with efforts to improve educational quality for low-income and minority youngsters in struggling schools." In other words, states that give the same incentives to all National Board teachers, regardless of school assignment, are actually widening the talent gap- in addition to whatever else they may be doing.

Rotherham- whose opinion on this issue may be winning him few new friends among National Board purists- estimates that states are spending about $100 million a year on these incentives, but that only a few states are targeting their bonuses. California is doing a better job than most, so you're just as likely to find a National Board teacher in central LA as you are in Modesto.