Plan Offers $5 Billion to Improve Teaching

Judy Hartnett's picture
Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Obama administration will propose Wednesday a $5 billion competition aimed at overhauling how America's teachers are trained, paid and granted tenure, the latest sign of the growing focus on the quality of teaching in public schools.

The competition—modeled after President Barack Obama's Race to the Top education initiative—would reward states that adopt overhauls favored by the administration, such as raising the bar to get into colleges of education, paying teachers based on student achievement and granting tenure only after proof of successful teaching, according to administration officials.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will unveil the plan during a town-hall meeting Wednesday, officials said, and will call on states to work with teachers unions and colleges of education to overhaul the teaching profession, which has faced withering criticism in recent years. The plan also calls on states and school districts to pay teachers more and adopt incentives to retain the best teachers, especially in hard-to-staff schools.

The proposal is part of Mr. Obama's effort to coax educational changes by dangling money in front of states and schools. His Race to the Top program held out $4.35 billion for states that linked teacher evaluations to student test scores, adopted rigorous math and reading standards, and lifted caps on the growth of charter schools, public schools run by outside entities. At least two dozen states made changes and 11 states and the District of Columbia were awarded the money. On Tuesday, the president proposed a $1 billion competition aimed at higher education.

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