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

October 2, 2007

CONTACT: Alexa Marrero
(202) 225-4527

Support to Reward Teachers Who Help Improve Student Achievement Continues to Rise

Dear Colleague,

As Congress moves forward with reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), there is universal agreement that teachers and principals are on the frontlines in our national effort to close the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and their more fortunate peers. Earlier this year, we joined members on both sides of the aisle to introduce the Teacher Incentive Fund Act – legislation to give states and schools the tools they need to reward these men and women for their successes inside the classroom.

In recent weeks, leading national publications have documented the growing support for this innovative strategy.  For example, a recent article on the front page of the Washington Post described the effort at the federal level and in school districts across the country to develop compensation systems that offer teachers and principals “recognition pay”.

“A movement gaining momentum in Congress and some school systems in the Washington region and beyond would boost pay for exceptional teachers in high-poverty schools, a departure from salary schedules based on seniority and professional degrees that have kept pay in lockstep for decades.” (Chandler, “Support Grows for Teacher Bonuses,” Washington Post, 18 September 2007)

Similarly, an article in Newsweek described the moves afoot to implement pay-for-performance initiatives in local school districts striving to reward teachers’ success and foster student achievement.

“…Republicans and Democrats in Washington are signaling that they are ready to embrace new iterations of performance-pay plans. Local governments aren’t waiting. There’s a clear line between low test scores and high teacher turnover, and school officials in Denver, Houston, Nashville and Chicago are hoping performance pay programs will lower teacher-attrition rates and make the job more attractive.” (Philips and Tyre, “A Bonus, Sir, With Love; Merit pay might work best in struggling schools,” Newsweek, 24 September 2007)

Already, a number of prominent education groups have rallied behind our legislation and its call to support high-quality teachers and reward them for increasing student achievement.  Despite efforts of the education establishment to stifle this type of innovation, we remain firmly committed to the Teacher Incentive Fund Act and the broader drive to support high-quality teachers.  And if recent articles are any indication, we are not alone.

A summary of the Teacher Incentive Fund Act (H.R. 1761) can be found on the Education and Labor Committee website.  For more information or to become a co-sponsor, please contact Brad Thomas (Committee on Education and Labor) at x5-6558 or Kris Skrzycki (Rep. Price) at x5-4501.



Tom Price (R-GA)                                                                              


Education and Labor Committee                                          


Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA)

Senior Republican Member

Education and Labor Committee