Education

The Cost of Teacher Effectiveness? Millions.

By Bryan Toporek — November 19, 2009 1 min read

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation delivered a $40 million offer to the Pittsburgh Public Schools this week to boost teacher effectiveness, reports the post-gazette.com. According to officials, it is the largest direct grant ever made to the school district. Pittsburgh is one of four “intensive partnership sites” that could soon receive money from the Gates Foundation for their efforts to improve teacher effectiveness.

“For us, it’s the perfect partnership at the perfect time,” said school Superintendent Mark Roosevelt.

The district, Roosevelt acknowledged, sees the foundation’s support as an endorsement of its initiatives to improve teacher effectiveness and school conditions.

Over the past four years, the district has shut the doors on low-performing schools, introduced standardized curricula, and with the support of Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, helped to launch the Pittsburgh Promise, which offers college scholarships to select graduates of city high schools.

The $40 million grant will go towards financing the district’s $85 million-plus plan to overhaul their methods for recruiting, training, and compensating teachers. Under the new plan, the district will implement performance-based pay for faculty members, establish a teachers’ academy, renovate the tenure system, and broaden teacher recruitment efforts.

The plan rolled out with the approval of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers.

“The PFT is very proud of the efforts made by our members every day, and this recognition by Gates underscores the reasons why we have that pride,” PFT President Jack Tarka said.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.