Alexander Offers Amendment Restoring “Performance-Based Compensation” to Teacher Incentive Fund

Posted on September 23, 2011

“This is the holy grail of public schools: trying to figure out a fair way to reward outstanding teaching.” – Lamar Alexander  

WASHINGTON – At a Senate Appropriations Committee meeting held Wednesday to mark up several appropriations bills, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) offered an amendment to the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill that would restore language regarding the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) that “would achieve its intended purpose of helping local school districts across the country experiment with, and implement, performance-based compensation systems.”

“This is the holy grail of public schools: trying to figure out a fair way to reward outstanding teaching. One of the best programs that the federal government has had – the Teacher Incentive Fund – allows local school districts, working with teachers and others, to figure out how to pay teachers more for teaching well. Unfortunately, the language of this bill takes the words ‘performance-based compensation’ out everywhere it appears and substitutes some general language, which schools already could do. It guts the purpose of the Teacher Incentive Fund, which is very unfortunate.”

The amendment would have restored the TIF language to achieve its intended purpose as a program of competitive grants to local educational agencies and partnerships to develop and implement performance-based compensation systems for teachers, principals and other personnel in high-need schools. It would also allow innovation in performance-based compensation to continue at the state and local level.  Senator Alexander intends to work with colleagues in the House of Representatives to restore the language in the final appropriations bill.

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