More than 50 schools in Texas have turned down money from the state’s new incentive-pay plan for teachers, but the vast majority of schools that were eligible to participate in the program chose to receive the incentive grants.
Under the three-year, $300 million program, teachers in high-performing, high-poverty schools can receive cash bonuses for “teaching excellence,” which includes, among other criteria, student achievement on state tests. The Texas Education Agency has advised schools to give individual teachers awards of $3,000 to $10,000. (“Schools Say No to Bonuses,” Oct. 11, 2006.)
Teachers’ unions tend to oppose the grants, which they say can be divisive and based on unfair criteria.
Nineteen schools declined to apply for the funds in the preliminary application period, and an additional 32 didn’t apply this fall. The current participation rate for the program is 97 percent.
According to a Nov. 2 press release put out by the TEA, $95.5 million of the $100 million earmarked for the program’s inaugural year has been given out.
A version of this article appeared in the November 15, 2006 edition of Education Week