House Committee on Education and Labor
U.S. House of Representatives

Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon
Ranking Member

Fiscally responsible reforms for students, workers and retirees.



Dear Colleague

March 23, 2007

Reward Teachers Who Help Improve Student Achievement

Dear Colleague, 

As we begin the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), we’ve seen a variety of reform proposals offered by stakeholders of all types, from educators and the business community to Members of Congress and state education officials.  Regardless of the details of these proposals, the goal of each of them is exactly the same: developing an education system that better prepares our nation’s students for the challenges of a 21st Century economy.  That’s a goal we all can rally around. 

Our nation’s teachers and principals are on the frontlines in this important national effort, and during the NCLB reauthorization process, I will continue to push for innovative ways to reward these men and women for their successes inside the classroom.  And I hope you’ll join me. 

Soon, I will introduce the Teacher Incentive Fund Act, legislation to help states reward teachers and principals for their success in improving student achievement.  

Specifically, the legislation would establish the Teacher Incentive Fund to provide funds to states and local school districts to help them develop performance-based compensation systems that offer teachers and principals “recognition pay” for demonstrating progress in raising student achievement levels and closing the achievement gap.  Notably, no federally-designed merit pay system would be imposed upon states or schools.  Rather, the Teacher Incentive Fund Act simply gives states and local school districts the tools they need to design and implement systems that meet their unique needs.   

The federal government already has provided states and schools more than $100 million in recent years to design and implement performance-based compensation standards.  My legislation simply authorizes the Teacher Incentive Fund program and makes it a permanent and critical component of our nation’s teacher quality improvement strategy.

Last month, the Commission on No Child Left Behind released its long-awaited recommendations of ways to improve NCLB, and included in those recommendations was a series of reforms to bolster teacher quality.  Among those reforms: “The use of differential and bonus pay to attract teachers to hard-to-staff schools and to subjects with teacher shortages.”  In short, the Teacher Incentive Fund Act builds on the Commission’s recommendations and ensures that states and schools have the ability to retain and – indeed – reward teachers who are particularly effective inside the classroom. 

The Teacher Incentive Fund Act is a common sense proposal which will play a key role in our nation’s drive to improve teacher quality.  I urge you to join me in establishing recognition pay for teachers who are improving student achievement by co-sponsoring this bill.  For more information or to become a co-sponsor, please contact Brad Thomas with the Committee on Education and Labor at x5-6558 or Kris Skrzycki in my office at x5-4501. 



   Tom Price (R-GA)


   Education and Labor Committee