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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

$10,000 raise for teachers in high-poverty schools

Teaching at a high-poverty school is a tough job: Turnover tends to be high. A $10,000 federal tax credit could motivate teachers to stay at schools with the neediest students, argues the Center for American Progress.

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Teachers in schools where 75 percent or more of students qualify for a subsidized lunch would get the full $10,000, under CAP’s proposal. Those in schools where more than half of students, but less than three-quarters, are poor would get a reduced credit.

The proposal would not be linked to students’ test scores, teacher evaluations or other performance measures.

About 57 percent of teachers would get a refundable tax credit, write Dick Startz and Kate Walsh on Brookings’ Chalkboard. The credit “would likely increase the available supply of teachers who want to work in high-poverty schools, achieving greater equity and improved education.”

While performance isn’t ostensibly a factor, we presume competition for these higher paying positions would allow principals in these schools to become a lot more selective about whom they hire, as well as reducing expensive teacher turnover and reliance on long-term substitutes or out-of-field teachers. (A North Carolina study by Charles Clotfelter and co-authors found that an $1,800 annual bonus lowered turnover rates by 17 percent.)

“A $10,000 tax credit is equivalent to just under a 20 percent raise for a teacher at the national average,” they note.

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