TAP's Elements TAP Outcomes Legislation Understanding Value-Added Teacher Quality Resources The Working Group on Teacher Quality
The research is clear that a talented teacher is the most important school-based factor influencing student achievement. The importance of good teachers to student achievement is a driving force behind legislative action to support improvements in teacher effectiveness. Following are key approaches for reform at the federal and state levels.
Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF)
The Teacher Incentive Fund annually provides funding for school districts and states to develop and implement innovative ways to provide financial incentives for teachers and principals who raise student achievement and close the achievement gap in some of America's highest-need schools. In the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) signed into law, funding for TIF was increased by $200 million. In addition, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Appropriations Bill enacted in late 2009 provided another $400 million for the funding of TIF. This increased funding through the two bills allowed the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to reopen the program and award funding to 62 new grantees in September 2010.
In April 2011, the Full-Year Continuing Resolution Act of FY 2011 was passed with funding for TIF remaining at $400 million for the fiscal year. ED anticipates a new competition for TIF will be conducted in late spring and summer of 2011. For updates on the new competition, please check on the Federal Register and the U.S. Department of Education's Teacher Incentive Fund Web page periodically.
The Teacher Incentive Fund was created in 2006 with $99 million in funding. In the first year of grant funding, only 34 grantees were selected from a large field of applicants representing urban and rural states, districts and schools. FY 2008 funding was $97 million and funded the continuation of the grants, which are designated for five years, although dependent on annual appropriations. Congress maintained funding at $97 million in its FY 2009 Appropriations Bill. The ARRA added another $200 million for TIF. The FY 2010 Appropriations Bill increased TIF funding to $400 million. The FY 2011 Continuing Resolution maintains TIF funding at $400 million.
The Obama administration in its blueprint for reauthorization of ESEA recommended consolidating TIF into a new ED program called the Teacher and Leader Innovation Fund (TLIF) with $500 million in funding in his proposal for FY 2012. The new TLIF would consolidate TIF and the Advanced Credentialing program. This competitive grant program would provide funds for states and school districts to reform compensation systems to provide differentiated pay and career advancement opportunities to educators. In addition, grantees would be encouraged to use the funds to take on additional innovative reforms, such as improving teacher salary schedules to eliminate additional pay for credentials (which have been proven not to be linked with student learning gains).
An authorization bill for the Teacher Incentive Fund, the Teacher Incentive Fund Act (H.R. 1761), was introduced in March 2007 by Representative Tom Price (R-GA), along with a bipartisan group of 16 co-sponsors.
Race to the Top Fund
Funded at $4.35 billion under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the Race to the Top Fund is the largest-ever federal competitive funding program for school reform. In the first round of funding, states, as the eligible applicants, were rewarded for progress made and given incentives for future improvements. States' application plans were required to be comprehensive and coherent, integrating and addressing four key reform areas: adopting internationally benchmarked standards and assessments; recruiting, developing, retaining and rewarding effective teachers and principals; building data systems that measure student success and inform teachers and principals how they can improve their practices; and turning around the lowest-performing schools.
The U.S. Department of Education dispersed the $4 billion in Race to the Top funds in two phases. Phase 1 was completed in late 2009 and the awards announced in March 2010. The two winners, Delaware and Tennessee, received $600 million combined. The remaining $3.4 billion was awarded in Phase 2 in August 2010 to an additional 10 applicants: the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island. The remaining $350 million in Race to the Top funding is intended for a second competitive grant process for the improvement of state standards and assessments.
In the recently enacted FY 2011 Continuing Resolution, Race to the Top was funded at $700 million, and will include a new initiative for early childhood education. Details of the new competition have not yet been released by ED. President Obama has also requested $900 million for Race to the Top in his FY 2012 budget proposal.
Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund
The Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund is a competitive grant program, initially funded at $650 million in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It is intended to support efforts to bring to scale educational practices that show significant evidence of success in improving student achievement. This fund will also support the development, implementation, replication and further evaluation of promising innovative practices. To be eligible, Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) and nonprofits working in collaboration with LEAs must have made progress in raising student achievement and significantly closing the achievement gap, among other requirements. In August 2010, the U.S. Department of Education announced the 49 winners of the i3 competition.
The FY 2011 Continuing Resolution Act includes $150 million for the i3 Fund and the President's
FY 2012 budget proposal requests $300 million.
Teacher Excellence for All Children Act (TEACH Act)
Federal Bill – 110th Congress
More than 40 members of the 110th Congress cosponsored the Teacher Excellence for All Children Act, or TEACH Act, a bill to attract highly effective teachers to the nation's poorest schools. Introduced in 2007 by then Education Committee Chairman (now Ranking Member) George Miller (D-CA) in the House of Representatives and the late Education Committee Chairman Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) in the Senate, along with other cosponsors, the TEACH Act's intent was to increase the supply of excellent teachers, to ensure that children are taught by teachers with expertise in their subject area, to create opportunities for career advancement, to identify and reward the best teachers and to retain the best teachers and principals, particularly in high-need schools. The TEACH Act incorporated many of same core goals as those of the TAP System for Teacher and Student Advancement. NIET expressed support for the goals of the TEACH Act along with many other national education organizations. Although the TEACH Act was not signed into law before the end of the 110th Congress, Congressman Miller has indicated that he will continue to advocate for the inclusion of many of its provisions in the ESEA reauthorization bill.
Quality Compensation for Teachers (Q Comp)
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty signed a state education budget for FY2006-07 into law that included $86 million for Quality Compensation for Teachers, or Q Comp, a nation-leading teacher compensation reform package based largely on TAP. Under Q Comp, districts are eligible for additional funding to reward excellence in teaching. The legislation includes funding for Q Comp to be implemented in approximately half the schools in the state. The five components under Q Comp include career ladder/advancement options, job-embedded professional development, teacher evaluation, performance pay and an alternative salary schedule. For the 2009-2010 school year, the Minnesota state education budget includes approximately $64 million for continued funding of Q Comp.
Texas House Bill One (H.B. 1)
Texas has made the largest single state investment in performance-pay programs in the country with $868.1 million over a six-year period dedicated to the development of three performance-pay programs—the Governor’s Educator Excellence Grant (GEEG), the Texas Educator Excellence Grant (TEEG) and the District Awards for Teacher Excellence (D.A.T.E.).
The state piloted performance-pay programs with GEEG in 2006, providing $10 million in non-competitive three-year grants to 99 campuses. The state then expanded to TEEG, which provided $100 million per year in funding for annual grants to approximately 1,000 campuses per year. Both programs were targeted to high-performing schools that enrolled high percentages of economically disadvantaged students. The Texas Legislature replaced TEEG and GEEG with D.A.T.E. in 2008-2009, a non-competitive, district-level grant program available to all Texas school districts. 203 districts participated in the first year of implementation. D.A.T.E. was funded at $147.5 million the first year and $397 million over the next two years.
All three programs separate funding into two parts. Part I funding, which with D.A.T.E. comprises at least 60 percent of a district's award, is used to provide incentives to classroom teachers. Part I performance awards must be based on improved student performance using objective, quantifiable measures. Part II funding, which comprises 40 percent or less of a district's award, may be used for bonuses for other school personnel, recruitment and retention stipends, professional development, teacher mentoring, building data capacity and other purposes.
Under D.A.T.E., district-level planning committees establish goals for their district award plans consistent with and motivated by their strategic plan for district improvement. Once the district goals have been determined, planning committees create a performance award plan that is either: 1) district-wide, 2) for select participating campuses, including Targeted Campuses, or 3) to implement TAP.
Mark Bonine, Principal, Nellie Stone Elementary, Minneapolis, Minnesota
"We've seen great improvement. We have not only anecdotal evidence, but we also have hard data about both student scores and teacher instructional strategies improving. Master and mentor teachers tell us that when they observe in the classroom, they're seeing [proven] instructional strategies in place across school grades and content areas."