Paying Teachers for Results: A Summary of Research to Inform the Design of Pay-for-Performance Programs for High-Poverty Schools

Matthew Walsh

Robin Chait and Raegen Miller
Center for American Progress
May 2009

This report offers timely suggestions for redesigning teacher pay programs at a time when the public is showing interest in paying better teachers more money. Robin Chait and Raegen Miller see paying for performance as crucial to recruiting and retaining the best teachers, although they argue it is not a step to be taken without consensus, since the idea is highly contentious politically. To ensure such plans succeed, they believe teachers must help design them.

The authors' desires to find ways to create performance-pay programs that are widely supported led them to draw ideas from school-district designs that have worked, such as one in North Carolina that gave an annual $1,800 bonus to math and science teachers. The result was a 12-percent drop in teacher turnover rates. They also offer compromises that could be palatable to pay-for-performance opponents while still achieving the objective of using pay to reward the best teachers and to spur other teachers to improve. For the report, see here.