Tennessee Offers Teacher Bonuses to Recruit Talent

Tennessee Offers Teacher Bonuses to Recruit Talent

Bad schools need better teachers. At least that's the idea behind a plan to pay big bonuses to good teachers to work at the worst performing schools in Memphis.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Bad schools need better teachers. At least that's the idea behind a plan to pay big bonuses to good teachers to work at the worst performing schools in Memphis.

"The most important task that we have is to ensure that priority school students, have access to an increasing number of Tennessee's most effective teachers," said Mike Koprowski with the Tennessee Department of Education.

A new state program aims to get the best teachers into the toughest schools. It will offer bonuses to high level teachers who agree to work at poor performing schools. At least 69 schools in Memphis are considered poor performing.

"The signing bonuses will be set at $7,000 per level five teacher and the retention bonuses are going to be set at $5,000 per level 5 teacher," said Koprowski.

"Now understand this too, the bonus is not a given. You only get $1,000 for signing, you will get $6,000 if you produce the results," explained President of Memphis Education Association, Keith Williams.

Williams says he is not a fan of the new program, especially when pink slips are being handed out to teachers.

"Association programs after school, community based programs, and parenting skills. Those are the kinds of things we/re going to have to look at if were going to really impact student achievement in schools," Williams said.

"This department is certainly open to those other types of programs, whether it's extended learning times or after school opportunities, and those are certainly part of the puzzle but this is just one piece of the pie," added Koprowski.

Eligible schools and their districts will be in charge of the hiring decisions.

"I just think that we're in a time now that public education is under attack and assault across this nation," noted Williams.

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