AUSTIN, Texas – Governor Rick Perry today (Nov. 2) issued an executive order directing the Texas Education Agency to establish an incentive-based pay program for Texas teachers who succeed in bringing academic achievement to disadvantaged schools.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s director of research, Chris Patterson, praised the decision.

“The governor’s executive order is a giant step forward in ensuring Texas’ at-risk students benefit from highly qualified teachers,” said Patterson. “This provides a model for a performance pay program in all public schools that benefit students and teachers alike. The governor’s order recognizes the critical link between teachers and student success.”

This concept was explored last week at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s comprehensive, standing-room only policy primer, “Professional Pay For Professional Educators.”

“The right incentives can dramatically improve Texas schools, and providing our teachers with a professional pay system that rewards them for bringing excellence to the classroom will benefit students,” added Patterson.

Featured among the panel of experts was Gary Stark, vice president of program development of the Teacher Advancement Program for the Milken Foundation. The TAP is conducted in partnership with the state working with school districts. In his announcement today, Perry said TAP will receive an additional $600,000 to expand their teacher development programs onto six additional campuses.

Patterson said that for an incentive or performance based pay system to work, Texas must focus on the amount of improvement a teacher brings to the students, not simply how many students pass a test.

“Performance incentives focus education dollars on effective teaching and student learning.”