Secretary DeVos Expands Commitment to Elevating the Teaching Profession through New Grant Funding for Performance-Based Compensation, Professional Development

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US Department of Education

Sept. 30, 2020
Contact: Press Office
(202) 401-1576 or

Secretary DeVos Expands Commitment to Elevating the Teaching Profession through New Grant Funding for Performance-Based Compensation, Professional Development

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today nearly $100 million in grant awards to school districts, institutions of higher education, and nonprofit organizations that build on her commitment to elevating the teaching profession and empowering teachers. The three grant competitions announced earlier this year challenged education leaders to rethink teacher preparation, professional development, and compensation in order to treat teachers as valued professionals.

“Great teachers deserve to be treated as the professionals they are and to be compensated accordingly,” said Secretary DeVos. “All too often, though, they lack access to relevant professional development courses and are compensated on a step-scale ladder that treats them like cogs in a machine instead of as individuals with unique talents and interests. We’ve challenged today’s awardees to rethink all of that, and they have risen to the challenge.”

Today’s grant awards are the latest in a series of actions the Secretary has taken to elevate the teaching profession and empower teachers to chart their own professional paths. Earlier this year, the Secretary announced a new federal funding priority to rethink professional development and empower teachers, through stipends or vouchers, to select and access professional development courses and opportunities that are relevant to their personal needs or career goals. This approach would empower teachers and replace the one-size-fits-all programming dictated to them by the state or local education agency.

Many of the grants announced today will fund projects located in Qualified Opportunity Zones, bolstering workforce development and student achievement in underserved communities.

Additional information on the three grant programs and the awards announced today can be found below:

Teacher and School Leader Incentive (TSL) Program

Under TSL, the Department made 13 awards totaling $63.7 million to support local education agencies in developing, enhancing, improving, and/or implementing human capital management systems (HCMS) that include performance-based teacher and/or principal compensation systems (PBCS). Each project is specifically designed to develop, enhance, improve, and/or implement an HCMS or PBCS, or both, in collaboration with teachers, administrators, other school leaders, and members of the public. Each of the funded projects was also designed to be concentrated in high-need schools and has the goal of increasing overall student achievement and closing the achievement gap between low- and high-performing students. Recipients include 11 public school districts and charter school networks from around the country, and two nonprofit organizations that support schools and districts in urban and rural communities nationwide. All 13 awards overlap with a Qualified Opportunity Zone, and nine are from organizations that have previously received a grant under this program. 


Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) Program

Under SEED, the Department of Education made 12 awards totaling $23.8 million to support evidence-based educator development models that prepare teachers, principals, and other school leaders serving students in high-need schools. The purpose of these grants is to increase the number of highly effective educators by supporting the implementation of evidence-based practices that prepare, develop, or enhance the skills of educators. Recipients include institutions of higher education and national nonprofit organizations. This year, the SEED competition-funded projects are specifically designed with a focus on the following: preparing educators to teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), with an emphasis on computer science; incorporating social and emotional learning (SEL) practices into teaching, and pathways into teaching that provide a strong foundation in child development and learning, including skills for implementing SEL strategies in the classroom; and providing services to educators serving students and schools located in distressed communities designated as Qualified Opportunity Zones. 


Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) Program

Under TQP, the Department of Education made 10 awards totaling $7.3 million to support innovative teacher preparation models that prepare prospective and new teachers to serve students in high-need schools. The purpose of the program is to improve student achievement, elevate the quality of the teacher workforce by enhancing preparation of prospective teachers and professional development of new teachers, and recruit highly qualified individuals into the teacher workforce. Recipients include institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations. Over two-thirds of the funded projects are new to TQP and will receive their first TQP award from this FY 20 competition. Additionally, all funded projects will take place in a Qualified Opportunity Zone.