Project Opening Doors (“POD”) is a new program offered on a nation-wide basis through the National Math and Science Initiative (“NMSI”). POD is designed to increase the availability of Advanced Placement courses and to increase student achievement by providing students with more time with teachers, increasing training for teachers, and increased offerings of AP courses. It has a particular focus on encouraging the participation and achievement of minority students in advanced placement courses. Under POD, teachers are eligible for incentive payments based on how their students perform on AP examinations.
After a competitive application process, several schools in Connecticut were awarded POD grants. Due to the incentive pay provision in the POD grants, many of those school districts had to proceed to interest arbitration over the implementation of POD. Several arbitration panels have determined that the POD program, including the incentive payments to teachers, served the public interest. After the first such award was issued in Stamford, the Stamford Education Association moved to vacate that that award in the Superior Court. On October 23, 2009, the Superior Court rejected the Association’s application to vacate, finding that the arbitrators considered all of the appropriate statutory factors and that their award was supported by substantial evidence in the record. A copy of the Court’s ruling can be found here.