Tuesday, March 21, 2023

How Districts Use Federal Funds to Attract, Train, and Retain Educators

Ensuring students’ equitable access to talented educators remains a national priority. Congress established the Teacher and School Leader (TSL) Incentive competitive grant program in 2015 to support districts in improving their systems for hiring, supporting, and retaining educators, particularly in high-need schools. 

This report provides the first comprehensive review of activities grantee districts prioritized with their TSL funds and how well these activities aligned with key aspects of the program. The report is based on interviews conducted near the end of the initial 3-year grant period for the 24 districts in TSL’s first cohort awarded in 2017 and is part of a broader evaluation of TSL required by Congress. Key findings include:

  • TSL districts prioritized strategies to improve their educator workforce over strategies to improve their data infrastructure, perhaps because districts felt they already had an adequate system to drive decisions.
  • TSL districts most commonly prioritized performance-based compensation and personalized support, such as with bonuses or teacher leaders who coach teachers.
  • Only some TSL districts indicated that their prioritized activities were central to improving educator diversity or increasing underserved students’ equitable access to effective educators, suggesting that grantees may not have emphasized these issues as much as the program expected.

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