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Teacher Bonuses in Idaho Linked to Parental Engagement

Can you improve parental involvement by making engagement with parents part of a teacher's formal duties? A handful of districts are giving it a try in Idaho, according to an interesting story from the Associated Press.

To comply with a new state law, every district had to implement a differentiated pay plan this school year. Many are using guidelines created by the state, AP reports, including consideration of value-added test information.

But several districts, especially in rural locations, are also basing the performance bonuses on whether the teacher engages meaningfully with his or her students' parents.

The plan in Challis, Idaho, requires teachers to make one "general" contact, like a note sent home, and one "personal" contact, in which a parent is informed about how his or her child is performing, over a three-month period.

The state teachers' union is a bit concerned, noting that parental involvement can be limited by factors outside of teachers' control. It opposes the merit-pay program in general.

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