US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Alexander Amendment Would “Help States and School Districts Pay Teachers More for Teaching Well”

Expands program that sets aside money for states to pay teachers based on performance

Friday, March 22, 2013Liz Wolgemuth 202-228-4729

Washington, D.C., March 22 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, today introduced an amendment to expand the Teacher Incentive Fund program, which encourages states and school districts to evaluate and reward teachers and principals based on their performance.

Alexander said: “The holy grail of education is figuring out a fair system for paying teachers more for teaching well. It’s something that states, working with school districts, principals, and teachers, can best figure out for themselves, and the federal government can help by making existing federal education dollars available for this one purpose.”

The purpose of the amendment is to support innovative state and local school district programs for evaluating and rewarding excellent teachers and principals who have a demonstrated record of improving student academic achievement, so they can improve the quality of their teachers and principals and increase effective instruction in high-need schools —without adding to the debt.

Today most school districts continue to compensate teachers based on experience and degrees, which bear no relation to their effectiveness as teachers in improving student outcomes.

While serving as governor of Tennessee, Alexander helped the state become the first in the nation to pay teachers more for teaching well.

The Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) was first authorized in 2006 specifically "to develop and implement performance-based teacher and principal compensation systems in high-need schools."

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