Frozen Assets: How Rethinking Teacher Contracts Could Free Billions for School Reform


Publication Date: January 2007

Publisher: Education Sector

Author(s): Marguerite Roza

Research Area: Education

Keywords: Education policy; research; teachers

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


There is immense pressure on public schools to improve the performance of low-achieving students. Schools must be able to recruit and retain high-quality teachers, strengthen curricula, and take other steps to provide struggling students with the help they need. But such reforms are expensive. One potentially valuable source of funding are common provisions in teacher contracts that obligate schools to spend large amounts of money on programs that often lack a clear link to student achievement.

This report from Education Sector examines eight commonly-used provisions in teacher contracts that, according to research, have a weak relationship with student achievement. The report estimates how much money these requirements cost a typical school district and examines how these "frozen assets" might be put to better use. The analysis estimates that nearly one out of every five dollars in a typical district budget is locked up by the eight provisions. That translates to roughly $77 billion in annual public school spending nationally