Teacher Quality in Connecticut

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The Connecticut Education Commissioner recently released a plan to keep quality teachers from leaving their tough urban school districts. The centerpiece of the plan is an incentive-based program which has enough funding for 1,000 teachers a year. The plan stipulates that those teachers who are ?successful in reducing dropout rates and raising student achievement? will be offered a $3,000 bonus and the unusual promise to not be laid off for at least two years, no matter what.

Forget the cash: Connecticut officials couldn't have picked an incentive more likely to anger the union than promising to protect some teachers over others. A teacher is a teacher is a teacher, after all. Teacher union officials in Connecticut argue that the proposal comes into direct conflict with collective bargaining and fair dismissal laws. Unions are also up in arms about a merit-based, rather than a seniority-based, system. According to the president of the Connecticut Education Association, ?There?s no research that says because you pay one teacher more than another the accountability is going to be better.?