The US Department of Education’s fiscal year 2010 budget of $ 47.6 billion includes an allocation of $ 517 million dedicated to the Teacher Incentive Fund that rewards principals, teachers, and other school personnel who improve performance. of students, close achievement gaps and work hard to staff schools.

School districts across the country will compete for the billions of dollars at stake. They will showcase their excellent schools, exemplary teachers, and innovative ideas. There is no question that stimulus money will go a long way toward school reform. For years, school districts have shown they have innovative ideas, but without adequate funding, those ideas never materialize.

Innovation and change must be energized with an incentive and a reward to replenish resources of ingenuity, commitment and creativity. Only in public education is an additional effort being made with a donation expected from a dedicated few.

It is enriching to be recognized for turning gang-infested schools from the strong hold of the socially disabled into havens where students can heal themselves to achieve academic achievement. Yes, closets and pats on the back feel good; but they don’t buy anything. Why are educators the only missionaries walking the paths of the low achievers, taking them to the highest places, perhaps with a brief notation in the annual evaluation of their acts and misdeeds in the educational workplace?

When an inspired teacher or administrator makes a difference in average annual performance, a reward is more than appropriate. It is fully earned by having the tools to allow the struggling student to complete a toolkit that is in disrepair.

Based on state funding tables issued by the U.S. Department of Education, Colorado is expected to receive $ 33,845,209 in Recovery Act funding for identified schools for improvements, corrective actions, and restructuring under Title I. It is expected that this money comes into play this fall.

If past history is any indicator, the incentive program will be a success. Programs like the absent addiction approach recognized by the National Interagency Drug Institute and the U.S. Department of Education helped a struggling high school move from low attendance and faltering graduation rates to change the status celebrated by its principal, who earned recognition as an outstanding individual at the school and celebrated by the state governor. This scenario of change was encouraged by external financing. This shows the dynamic effects that special financing can have.

The rewards from the Teacher Incentive Fund will provide a great opportunity to improve schools with hard work and innovation. However, the real winners will be the children.

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