Early Education Teachers Could Qualify for Bonuses

Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

Teachers of Georgia’s youngest students could soon be eligible for bonuses if they choose to go back to school. State education officials are offering one-time bonuses for preschool teachers who earned higher degrees.

Hear the broadcast version of this story.

The success of early education programs often hinge on teacher quality. That’s why Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning is using part of a federal grant to reward teachers who boost their credentials. Kristin Bernhard is DECAL’s deputy commissioner for system reform.  She says the amount of a bonus will depend on the degree a teacher pursues.

“For example, if an early childhood educator is able to receive their technical certificate of credit, they would then be eligible for a $1200 bonus or award,” she says. “If they complete the associate’s degree, it goes up to $1500, and then $2500 for attaining a bachelor’s or master’s-level degree.”
Bernhard says by taking on that expense, DECAL hopes to reduce the financial burden on parents and child care centers.
“This is one other opportunity that exists for us to reward those teachers who get that advanced degree so that they can stay in the classroom and programs don’t face a financial expense trying to retain good teachers,” Bernhard says.  
The program begins in January and will continue for three years. Click here to find out how to qualify.
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