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March 23, 2007

Keeping teachers in tough schools

A statewide program to provide successful North Carolina school teachers a bonus for teaching in schools with more challenging students had good results overall, reports N.C. State University's Mike Walden.

"Indeed ... North Carolina did have a program. It was actually a statewide program ... and it was unique to the nation," says Dr. Walden a professor of agricultural and resource economics. It "paid teachers who stayed in schools with more challenging students a bonus.

"And, in fact, there has been a recent study of that program to see did it work? Did it keep those teachers in those schools? That is, Did it reduce the turnover rate of teachers in challenging schools?" he continues. "And the study found that overall it did.

"The bonus, which was about $1,800 a year, was associated with a reduction in teacher turnover by about 10 percent," he says. "But interestingly when they divided the study's results between type of school, they found that the program had no impact at all on high school ... teachers, whereas on middle school teachers it was very highly effective.

"So I guess you would say this is some evidence, but certainly not overwhelming evidence, that paying teachers more can keep them in schools," he concludes. "And, of course, one thing that could be done is to dramatically increase the bonus, and that might be more effective."

Posted by deeshore at March 23, 2007 08:18 AM

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