In Idaho, Teacher Bonuses Depend on Parents

Courtney Williams's picture
Monday, October 31, 2011

Parents across Idaho will now play a role in whether or not their child's teacher gets a raise.

Teacher bonuses in more than two dozen school districts statewide will depend to some degree on how well they can engage parents throughout the year, as part of new education changes signed into law earlier this year.

The laws championed by public schools chief Tom Luna carry sweeping changes for Idaho's public schools that include phasing in laptops for high school teachers and students, while requiring online courses.

School districts and public charter schools were also required to develop plans to reward employees who go above and beyond. The teacher pay-for-performance bonuses could be based on a variety of factors, including improved test scores and attendance rates.

A database compiled by the state Department of Education shows schools districts have adopted a mixture of criteria, giving teachers points for everything from student attendance to graduation rates and writing assessments.

The result: A laboratory of pay-for-performance methods in a state that has long debated whether teacher pay should be tied to things like student test scores.

At least 29 school districts statewide have since developed merit pay plans based, at least partly, on parental involvement.

In the central Idaho countryside, Challis schools have set a goal that teachers make contact with the parents of their students at least twice every three months.


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