Friday, June 10, 2005

Teacher Bonus Plan Approved

So this smacks of the provision in the failed H.B. 2 that calls for incentive teacher pay. In looking at what teachers want and need, look at this recent “Texas Teachers, Moonlighting, and Morale” report by David and Travis Henderson has been conducted every two years since 1980.


June 10, 2005, 1:13AM

HISD program is designed to aid 3 failing campuses
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

A plan to recruit top teachers to three of HISD's lowest-performing high schools by offering performance bonuses worth up to $3,000 a year won unanimous approval from the school board Thursday.

Teachers at Sam Houston, Yates and Kashmere high schools will be eligible for up to $1,500 in bonus pay for reaching campuswide goals on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. Individual teachers in subject areas tested on the TAKS can earn an additional $1,500 in incentive pay if students in their classes score high enough on the exam.

The Houston Independent School District has committed to three years for the pilot bonus program, which could cost up to nearly $800,000 a year.

The school board voted earlier this year to reform the schools, ranked "academically unacceptable" by the state, by requiring every employee at Yates, Sam Houston and Kashmere to reapply for their jobs. About 40 percent of the schools' teachers from last school year won't be back in the fall. Most of the turnover is happening at Sam Houston, where 61 teachers must be replaced. The school plans to rely heavily on first-year teachers trained in the Teach for America program.

Gayle Fallon, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, told trustees the bonus money will not attract better teachers. The union represents about half of HISD's 12,000 teachers.

"Folks, it's not an incentive," Fallon said. "So far, we haven't found a taker. ... We've gotten remarks like, 'You think I'm going to leave Lamar High School for $1,500 a year?' "

She warned trustees that the schools will open with too many unseasoned teachers.

But trustee Larry Marshall said he's not convinced that inexperienced teachers are less effective than veterans.

"There is the assumption that new teachers can't contribute," he said. "They are usually very eager and enthusiastic."

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