WAMU 88.5 : News

Of DCPS Teachers Offered Bonuses, 40 Percent Say: 'No, Thanks'

Play associated audio

One of former D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee's signature initiatives was to reward good teachers with bonuses of up to $25,000. To qualify for the full amount, teachers have to score high marks on their evaluations, teach at schools with majority low-income children, and teach a tested grade and certain subjects. Bonuses were offered to 636 teachers, but 40 percent turned down the money.

Eric Bethel, who taught at Marie Reed Elementary School, is one such DCPS superstar. He recently accepted a $20,000 bonus.

"It was very hard to turn down an opportunity to get a bonus check that was nearly half of my entire salary for a year," he says.

Bethel says he and his wife have been trying to save enough money to buy a house.

"She gave me a big hug, told me she was very proud of me, then immediately started looking up houses online," he says.

But these teachers had to agree to give up some job security. For example, they could lose their jobs because of program changes or enrollment declines at their schools.

Diane Terrell, a teacher at Stoddert Elementary School, refused her $5,000. She says a bonus shouldn't come with strings attached.

"You think you can come and wave money in front of us and we will give up everything to you. I could not do that," she says.

Two teachers were eligible for $25,000, the maximum amount. Both accepted the money.

DCPS Teacher Bonuses
NPR

Not My Job: We Quiz The Duplass Brothers On Sibling Rivalry

Mark and Jay Duplass take a break from writing, directing, acting and producing to play a game called "Hating you is like hating myself."
NPR

Florida Says Its Fruits, Vegetables Are Safe From Invasive Fruit Fly

Since September, Florida has been fighting an infestation of the Oriental fruit fly, an invasive pest that threatened more than 400 crops. The state declared the insect eradicated as of Saturday.
NPR

Staunch Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia Dies At Age 79

Senior Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was confirmed dead Saturday afternoon at a West Texas ranch. NPR's Michel Martin speaks with Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free-Press.
NPR

Colonialism Comment Puts Facebook Under Scrutiny

A Facebook board member lambasted a decision by regulators in India, the social network's second-largest market. He thereby sparked new scrutiny of Facebook's intentions in that country.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.