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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

ACE worked in Dallas -- till the money went away

You get what you pay for, writes Hannah Putnam on the NCTQ blog. Bonuses persuaded highly effective teachers to take jobs at low-performing schools in Dallas. Achievement rose compared to similar schools that were not part of the experiment. When the ACE bonuses ended, teachers left those schools, reports a new NBER working paper.

ACE (Accelerating Campus Excellence) provided "a signing bonus for teachers ($2,000), annual stipends (ranging from $6,000 to 10,000 for teachers, and more for principals, plus hefty bonuses for counselors and other staff)," writes Putnam. Teachers had to reapply for their jobs: 80 percent were replaced, usually by far more effective teachers, as judged by the district's evaluation system.

ACE also included "small increases in instructional time, requirements for data-driven instruction, funds for school uniforms, and additional professional development."

After a few years at an ACE elementary school, sixth graders earned higher scores, especially in math, researchers found.

When bonuses ended in 2019 for the first ACE cohort, many teachers left, especially the highly rated teachers, notes Putnam. "Students' test scores went back down."

Teachers' unions oppose higher pay for teachers in more challenging jobs, reports Joe Hong on CalMatters.

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