Thursday, April 26, 2012

Linking Superintendent bonus to test results not good for children

A substantial annual bonus for the  Superintendent might be tied to test results.

This can create even more teaching to the test and pressure on teachers to produce good test-takers.

Children might become dollar signs.

Test driven pay for performance narrows the education of children.

Research shows it does not raise student performance.

The Debate over Teacher Merit Pay: A Freakonomics Quorum - Click Here

There’s just one problem: educators almost universally hate merit pay, and have been adamantly opposed to it from day one. Simply, teachers say merit pay won’t work.

In the last year, there’s been some pretty damning evidence proving them right; research showing that merit pay, in a variety of shapes and sizes, fails to raise student performance. In the worst of cases, such as the scandal in Atlanta, it’s contributed to flat-out cheating on the part of teachers and administrators. So, are we surprised that educators don’t respond to monetary incentives? Is that even the right conclusion to draw?


"There is now substantial evidence that pay for performance does not even work on its own terms – reading and math scores don’t increase when teachers or entire schools are offered bonuses for higher scores. But even if pay for performance did work on its own terms, it would harm public education.

Richard Rothstein is a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute, and a senior fellow of the Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at UC (Berkeley) Law School. From 1999 to 2002 he was the national education columnist of The New York Times. He is the author of Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right, and lectures widely about education policy issues.