Teacher Quality and Recognition Demonstration Act Exposed

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The Teacher Quality and Recognition Demonstration Act was adopted by ALEC's Education Task Force at the Annual Meeting August 8, 2002. Approved by the full ALEC Board of Directors September, 2002. An identical act is posted on ALEC's website (accessed June 26, 2015).

CMD's Bill Summary

This bill authorizes taxpayer-funded teaching projects exempt from education rules and regulations regarding teacher certification, tenure, recruitment, and compensation. This rolls the “reforms” for teachers proposed by conservative groups all into one. For districts in the demonstration project, nearly all certification and personnel requirements are removed. Teachers select and mentor new teachers into positions. This is similar to old and dated teacher qualifications before certification, tenure, regular assessment and other aspects of improvements in the profession came into play.

ALEC Bill Text

The need for quality teachers in improving student achievement is generally recognized as one of the most crucial elements of state reform efforts. A primary concern in the quality of the performance of teachers is the forecast for an increasing need for more teachers. This bill is directed towards creating a new structure of the current teaching system that will promote the retention and reward of good teachers and attract new talent to the profession. This bill establishes Teacher Quality Demonstration projects wherein local education agencies are exempt from education rules and regulations regarding teacher certification, tenure, recruitment, and compensation, and are granted funding for the purpose of creating new models of teacher hiring, professional growth and development, compensation and recruitment.

Model Legislation

Section 1. {Short Title}

This Act may be cited as the Teacher Quality and Recognition Demonstration Act.

Section 2. {Purpose}

The purpose of this Act is to support up to {insert number - suggested at least 5, not more than 12} teacher quality demonstration programs in which staffing models are reorganized from ones built around fixed salary levels to ones built on a multi-tiered approach with increasing salary flexibility and incentives, new career paths, performance-based appraisal and new models of professional development.

Section 3. {Definitions}

For the purposes of this act:

(a) Teachers – The term “teachers” means staff that have half to full time instructional responsibility in any field directed by the district.

(b) Cluster – The term “cluster” means a set of schools made up of one high school, up to four middle schools and up to seven elementary schools within a school district.

(c) Applicant – The term “applicant” means the school superintendent of the district in which the cluster is located.

(d) Commissioner – The term “commissioner” means the chief state school officer.

(e) Instructional Salary – {Insert state definition}.

Section 4. {Establishment of Pilot Project}

(a) IN GENERAL – No later than 18 months prior to the school year for which the demonstration is scheduled to begin, the State shall make available to applicants information on project requirements and the involvement and oversight by an advisory body to be determined by the State.

(b) PROJECT AUTHORIZED – The State shall approve the creation of {insert appropriate number - suggested at least 5, not more than 12} pilot clusters that develop a system for attracting, retaining, rewarding and motivating teachers.

(c) PROJECT REQUIREMENTS – Each cluster shall meet the following requirements:

(1) Multiple Career Paths.
(A) Placement of all teachers in expanded roles, which may include school leaders, directors of programs, master teachers, mentors and other instructional positions approved by the Commissioner.
(B) In expanding the roles of teachers, the Commissioner shall take into consideration the interests, ability and accomplishments of teachers.
(2) Market-based Compensation – Establishment of a flexible salary and reward system for teachers in which compensation levels is based on the accomplishments and performance of teachers, student academic achievement and evaluations from peers, senior teachers and the principal.
(3) Performance-based Accountability –
(A) Elimination of tenure and establishment of 3-year contracts.
(B) Establishment of a system for teacher hiring and advancement that is based on reviews evaluations conducted by peers both within and outside the school district.
(4) Professional Development – Establishment of ongoing professional development activities that meet the following requirements:
  • directly related to the curriculum and content areas in which the teacher provides instruction;
  • tied to challenging State or local content and student performance standards;
  • related to the instruction in methods of disciplining children; D) related to proven effective instructional strategies and methods for improving student achievement;
(5) MENTORING – The establishment of a formal system of mentoring, such as from master teachers to newly hired teachers or teachers identified through evaluations to be in need of assistance.
(A) Establishment of an alternative certification program to train and hire individuals that possess academic degrees in the fields they will be teacher and who demonstrate expertise in the field in which they will be teaching.
(B) Make available State or National certification.

Section 5. {School District Application}

(a) IN GENERAL – Each school district that has a cluster that wishes to carry out the teacher quality demonstration project must submit an application to the State, at such time and such manner as the State may reasonably require.

(b) CONTENTS OF APPLICATION – Each such application shall contain:

(1) A description of how the project will assist the district in achieving its goals.
(2) An identification and description of schools to be included in the cluster.
(3) A description of the project, including how the district will comply with the project requirements in accordance with section 4.
(4) An assurance that the school district will increase the instructional salaries for teachers in the cluster, as required by the various career positions and performance based evaluations.
(5) A detailed description of the cost of the project, including how the district will reallocate or raise funds to cover the costs associated with the implementation of the program.
(6) A description of the State statutory and regulatory requirements that to be waived in order to comply with the project requirements as set forth in section 4.

Section 6. {Teacher Quality Project Funding}

(a) In GENERAL – The state will award grants for up to 10 school districts having applications approved pursuant to section 5 to enable school districts to conduct a teacher quality project in accordance with this part.

(b) AMOUNT CRITERIA – The State shall award in an amount that is not less than 50% of the costs associated with implementation of the project, of which at least 10% of the current teacher salary budget shall be designated specifically for increases in instructional salaries in the cluster.

(c) GRANT PERIOD – The State shall not award grants under this part for a period to exceed 5 years.

Section 7. {Waiver from State Regulations}

For grantees, the State Board of Education shall waive statutory and regulatory requirements related to education, including those regarding teacher recruitment, tenure and compensation.

Section 8. {Evaluation}

The State Education Agency, the district and/or the school shall periodically evaluate the outcomes of the teacher quality demonstration project and upon request, shall submit copies of the evaluations to the State Board of Education.

Section 9. {Authorization of Appropriations}

There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary for each of the {enter number of years} succeeding years to carry out the provisions of this part.

Section 10. {Severability Clause}

Section 11. {Repealer Clause}

Section 12. {Effective Date}