The U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday afternoon that New Haven’s school system has been awarded a $53.4 million grant to reward its top teachers and to encourage high-quality teachers to work in its impoverished schools.

This Teacher Incentive Fund will last five years and will go to help 46 high-need schools in New Haven. According to the announcement, the money will be used to enhance the district’s existing teacher evaluation system by adding the funding for professional development and differentiated career opportunities and differentiated compensation based on those evaluations. Dave Cicarella, the leader of New Haven’s teachers’ union, said this merit-based compensation will not be based on how students perform on standardized tests.

“Our best teachers and principals are invaluable leaders in changing life outcomes for students. They are desperately needed in our struggling schools, and they deserve to be recognized, rewarded and given the opportunity to have a greater influence on their colleagues, students and in their communities,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said when announcing the grant.

The average salary of a general education teacher in New Haven was $58,300 in the 2010-11 school year, almost $10,000 less than the state average and below its surrounding communities, according to the State Department of Education. The teachers in New Haven also have fewer years of experience than the state average and fewer with a master’s degree, according to the State Department of Education.

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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