RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – An incentive pay proposal for teachers tops the governor's plan for moving K-12 education forward.
The pilot program announced today would award up to $5,000 to teachers in schools identified as "hard to staff". The hope is that the grants will attract teachers who can help improve school performance and student achievement.
"A young person's opportunity should not be constrained by their ZIP code, but should be a function of their intellect, their god given talents, and their work ethic," said Gov. Bob McDonnell.
There are approximately 190 "hard to staff" schools in Virginia. They face unique challenges, sometimes related to attendance, special needs, and language barriers. Teachers, also, don't often stay very long. Some leave for new jobs after just one year.
Now, teachers at certain schools may soon be eligible for an extra $5,000 if they take a job at a "hard to staff" school.
Dr. Bill Bosher is NBC12's education specialist.
"The greatest impediment to the morale of an outstanding teacher is to think that incompetence will be protected or ignored," Bosher said.
Bosher notes that teacher incentive pay has been tried before. It can work, he says, as long as the program doesn't run out of money.
"If everyone meets the standard, then you need to pay them. So they've often fell because of the weight, the burden, of trying to match the funding with the expectation," Bosher said.
The plan proposed by McDonnell is backed by a $3 million federal grant. It targets 24 schools in Richmond alone, where one parent said her student is doing well.
"The first time, when he go to the school, he never speak English, and now, he can speak really good English. And he can recognize numbers, letters," said Aracely Loco, whose child attends G.H. Reid Elementary.
But teachers will not only have to work at a select school. They'll have to prove that students are succeeding, too.
"If you say to us, this is where we want students to be, and we'll pay you more to get them there, they will get there. The real question is, how do they get there, and what do they know?" Bosher said.
The McDonnell plan is included in his budget amendments for the coming year. It would take effect in July, if approved by the General Assembly.
Press release from Virginia Department of Education:
RICHMOND, VA - A hard-to-staff school in a Virginia school division has been identified as one that meets at least four of the following eight criteria:
- Accredited with warning;
- Average daily attendance rate is two percentage points below the statewide average;
- Percent of special education students exceeds 150 percent of the statewide average;
- Percent of limited English proficient (LEP) students exceeds 150 percent of the statewide average;
- Percent of teachers with provisional licenses exceeds 150 percent of the statewide average;
- Percent of special education teachers with provisional special education licenses exceeds 150 percent of the statewide average;
- Percent of inexperienced teachers (0 years of teaching experience) hired to total teachers exceeds 150 percent of the statewide average; and
- School has one or more inexperienced teachers (0 years of teaching experience) in a critical shortage area.
Virginia Department of Education Hard-to-Staff Schools for School Year 2010-2011 (from School Year 2009-10 data):