A User's Guide to

Peer Assistance and Review

  • What is PAR?
  • Costs and benefits of PAR
  • Designing your PAR project
  • Labor-management relations
  • Practical issues and advice

Costs and Benefits of PAR

PAR programs are expensive, and districts often must be creative and draw on various sources to fund them. However, administrators and union leaders repeatedly said that PAR’s benefits – both financially and in terms of its effect on teacher quality – far outweigh its costs. District and union leaders talked about the program as an investment in their teachers. By reducing district costs in other areas, most PAR programs appeared to pay for themselves.

 

“A little bit over 70 percent of my budget is spent on people—$680 million. It’s all about people. It’s all about talent. And the process, I think, is a great process in developing great teachers and retaining great teachers. The retention is amazing.”

Rochester Superintendent Brizard

captionJean-Claude Brizard, Rochester Superintendent

• What does PAR cost?

PAR programs are expensive. Estimates of program costs range from approximately $4,000 to $7,000 per participant. By far, the largest expense is the cost of hiring teachers to fill the classes that CTs leave. Districts must pay additional costs, including stipends for CTs and PAR Panel members, compensation for program directors and support staff, and administrative expenses like office space, computers, and mileage.

• How do districts pay for PAR?

Most districts use local revenues to fund their PAR program, though many supplement those resources with state grants for teacher evaluation and mentoring as well as federal support for teacher quality initiatives.

• What are the financial benefits of PAR?

Districts report that PAR ultimately helps them save money in several areas. First, PAR is an intensive induction program for new teachers, which may reduce costly turnover. Second, PAR programs reduce the cost of dismissing tenured teachers, which otherwise can be very expensive.

photoA new teacher in Toledo

• What are the other costs and benefits of PAR?

Even though PAR is expensive, most people described PAR’s broader effects rather than its financial costs and benefits. Respondents from all districts studied spoke of PAR as an effective way to attract, support, and retain teachers. Superintendents and union leaders both said that students pay the price for ineffective teaching. They saw PAR as a way to improve instruction, increase teacher professionalism, change the culture of teaching, and improve labor-management relations.